shifting negative self-talk

by: Jen Miller of Glowing Minds Wellness

negative self-talk is basically our inner “mean girl”, or the negative tone in which we speak to ourselves in our head.

each time we speak negatively to ourselves, our self-worth, confidence, mood, stress levels and even energy levels (it’s SUCH a drain on our energy) take a hit. 

how do we shift this negative self-talk?

1. CREATE AWARENESS: firstly, it’s important that we identify what the trigger is for this negative thought. where is it coming from? what prompted you to have this thought? it’s essential that we create awareness around the root of our negative self-talk. often there is a limiting belief at the root, like “I must be perfect to be loved” or “my self-worth relies on being validated or accepted by others”. 

2. QUALITY CONTROL: certain things that trigger our negative self-talk may be within our control to change such as negative people, relationships, social media content, tv, movies, etc. consider where in your life you can filter out a negative trigger.

3. LIVE IT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: we often hear the statement “talk to yourself like you’d talk to someone you love”, but why can it be so hard to do that? because often we aren’t actually talking to those we love like that, thus we aren’t used to using that type of language.

with people we love, we already have a baseline relationship in place so often don’t feel the need to inject a lot of positive expressions of love into the conversation, unless there is a special occasion, or we’re prompted. actually, we often end up “bonding” further over negative topics or gossip. 

so, to help shift negative self-talk, we must also shift any external negative talk with those we love – it’s a symbiotic relationship. We must exercise the positive talk muscles in our brain and learn the language. we can do that by:

  • start complimenting people, especially the people you love. reflect on how you feel when you compliment others (it might feel weird at first if you aren’t used to it). what type of language did you use?

  • each day this week, make an effort to bond with a friend or family member over something that’s positive (even one small thing can make a huge difference in your mood/mental state)

4. BE GENTLE AND COMPASSIONATE WITH YOURSELF: no matter how much we practice this, we will all have negative self-talk creep up at times. it’s not about trying to reject the thought or feel badly because “you should know better”, it’s about recognizing the thought, perhaps getting curious about where it came from, but then shifting back to a positive state of mind without judgement or attachment to the thought. 

if we start to feel badly about our negative self-talk because we believe we “shouldn’t” be thinking that way, it will only take us into a downward negativity spiral.