Silencing Negative Self Talk

Our brains operate every moment without us having to try and our thoughts navigate freely with little moderation as to what they are about. This sometimes allows a constant feed of negativity if one’s mind pleases to do so. Negative self-talk, especially if prolonged, is harmful to both the mind and body.  The brain is hyper-sensitive to words and takes on the form of commonly used phrases. Once you start to think it, your brain starts to believe it. You can look at negative emotions as a learned behavior that simply needs unlearning. To get you started, here are a few key practices to adopt and drop when you are feeling most down on yourself.


Identify that negative voice and its patterns. Note any of the abusive language that is used to reinforce negative perceptions of the self and its frequency. Is it occurring during a certain activity, with a select group of individuals, all throughout the day or concentrated at specific times? Noting the patterns of your negative thinking is how you prepare to deflect repugnant thoughts. Remove the commonly used bad words from your vocabulary along with any reinforcements. Reinforcements are considered anything supporting negative thoughts and feelings towards yourself. This can appear in numerous ways including interpersonal relationships, work environments, social media and mass media, or within the household. After assessing reinforcements, take a look at possible ways to disengage with that stimulus to prevent provocation.


Similar to recognizing negative self-talk is acknowledging it as negative self-talk. This is slightly different than the recognition stage because of the requirements of acknowledgement. Begin with admission. Denying or working to justify negative thoughts is counterproductive. Instead, be honest about the issue(s) directly and what is most troubling about the thoughts. For example, rather than saying you are unworthy of love and believing it, acknowledge you have a rough history in the dating scene but everyone’s time is different. That does not equate to you being unlovable, it just means good love hasn’t found you yet. The acknowledgement stage exists to identify where these negative thoughts stem. From there, you can begin the work to manage the root of the problem.

Counter Thoughts

Developing new positive thinking patterns is more difficult with age. Attempting to restructure all negative thoughts will seem impossible after the first few tries as personality is not easily malleable. The process of restructuring thoughts requires mindfulness and the will to adjust your ways. Using the awareness developed in the acknowledgement stage, you must be willing to identify what is negative about a thought and spend an extra moment pondering its origin. Your conscious mind is saying something about your subconscious thoughts and it’s telling you to listen.

Forming Better Habits

Keeping yourself in the same situation is setting yourself up for stagnation. For lasting change to happen, there must be a commitment to explore outside of comfort zones. Establishing new habits offers a clean slate to form more favorable emotions towards a stimuli. Use this time to scale back on negative media, harmful gossip, and encounters with pessimists. Additionally, incorporate more affirmations in your day, find new positivity blogs to follow, listen to funny podcasts, or watch motivational videos online. Spend your time outside of your usual environment and watch your mind closely for a fresh perspective.

Practice with Others

Everything is better with a buddy. Accountability partners are great positive reinforcements for mental health journeys. We could all use a little uplifting at the moment, so round up your favorite individuals and challenge each other to be the most positive person in the group. Winner gets bragging rights and loser has to buy dinner! Okay, maybe not. But a trusted friend who knows what you are going through and remains by your side for support is quite the reward itself.

Forming new habits requires your patience and diligence as you reframe your mentality. It’s about being kind to yourself, taking a moment to listen to what your thinking patterns reveal, and seeking a resolution to your most troubling thoughts. Lastly, remember your life is a journey and not a destination. Growth happens at the rate of time; so, spend your time wisely and you’ll be sure to grow.

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