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How Can I Stop Negative Self Talk?

Reducing negative self-talk is not an easy task, but it is possible! Here are some strategies:

Embrace Self-Compassion

Leaning into self-compassion over positivity is a more attainable goal. While it may seem intuitive to counter negativity with positivity, positive thinking alone might be more harmful than helpful. If you can get to a point where you think positively about yourself, that’s wonderful, but it is not necessary. My hope is that you can achieve unconditional positive regard and acceptance. Self-compassion entails being kind to yourself. Recognizing that you are a human being. Humans are prone to making mistakes, and therefore, making a mistake and being imperfect actually makes you human.

Practice Balanced Thinking

When you notice yourself labeling or criticizing yourself, take a step back and reframe it with statements like “I am a person who ___”. Every time you talk negatively to yourself, you are reinforcing those beliefs. Whether it is not getting the job offer, or going to sleep a bit too late, remember that these instances do not define you as a person. You are a human who did not get a job offer. You are a human who stayed up a bit too late. Allow these instances to happen without judgment.

Practice Gratitude

While gratitude does not erase the pain in life, it helps you acknowledge the positives amidst the hardships.

Start and end your days with a gratitude practice. Each morning, jot down 1 thing you’re grateful for, and repeat this in the evening. This can be done in a journal, on your phone, or wherever you desire. Writing down what you’re thankful for, rather than thinking about it, amplifies the impact. Over time, you will build a collection of things to be grateful for, and can turn that into gratitude during tough times.

Daily Reflection

If you’re reading this blog, then you might be wearing negative goggles as you navigate through the world.

Reflect on the highlights (cherry) and challenges (pit) of each day to gain a balanced outlook. Again, you can reflect in a journal or with a trusted loved one/friend. Ask, what is your cherry and what is your pit? On the same day you did not receive a job offer, maybe you made a home cooked meal. How amazing that you put yourself first. Positive and negative feelings can coexist. It does not have to be one or the other. Great and not so great moments may happen throughout your day. The cherry and pit exercise helps to bring your awareness to that. Consistently practicing this reflection can motivate you to practice more balanced thinking on a daily basis.

Ask yourself, what makes the negative self-talk more true if there are both cherry and pits to my days?

Reduce Time Spent on Social Media

Cutting down on social media usage is way easier said than done. It is a challenge in today’s world where mindless scrolling is a go to when feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, or as a form of procrastination. Mindless scrolling often leads to subconscious comparison with others. While comparison is not always harmful, it can be detrimental to those more inclined to negative self-talk. Social media often glorifies people’s lives. If you already struggle with negative thoughts about yourself, mindless scrolling can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy.

Consider setting a timer before scrolling on social media. Doing so engages the logical part of your brain, allowing you to be intentional about social media use. When the timer goes off, it may be challenging to stop scrolling. I encourage you to incentivize yourself with a reward such as eating a yummy snack or going for a walk. Having something to look forward to also helps you to be mindful and reduce the urge to continue scrolling.

If you or someone you know struggles with negative self talk, I strongly encourage you to contact Symmetry Counseling at (312)578-9990 or visit https://www.symmetrycounseling.com/.

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