Every day, we talk to ourselves. Our self-talk helps us understand situations we face as we relive them in our minds. Your own words travel exceedingly faster than verbal communication. It is estimated that people can think to themselves at a rate equivalent to speaking 4,000 words per minute out loud.
There are two types of self-talk: positive and negative. Positive self-talk can reinforce tasks one must do throughout their day, “I am behind on the task I set out for today, so I need to plan a way to catch up to speed.” Negative self-talk can disable the task due to overthinking, “I am behind on the task I set out for today, so I am a failure.”
Comparing these types of self-talk, the conclusions of the task are different. If we call ourselves a failure, the likelihood we will complete what we set out to do goes down significantly. Negative self-talk can often overstep a conclusion. We can almost consciously or unconsciously talk negatively to ourselves at the speed of lightning. If this exceeds too far, it can lead to:
- Focusing on only the negative aspects of everything
- Giving full blame to yourself in any situation
- Assuming the worst will always happen
- Only seeing situations as good or bad when there could be an in-between.
Side-Effects of Negative Self-Talk
The side-effects of excess negative self-talk fall into four common groups:
- Limited thinking
- Feelings of Depression
- Relationship Challenges
Overthinking negative self-talk can lead to depressive thoughts and excessive stress. Negative self-talk can harm our personal and social interactions. Findings show that excessive negative self-talk can have an impact on our physical health. On the other hand, positive thinkers are said to be less susceptible to colds and have better cardiovascular health. By eliminating excessive stress put on by negative thoughts, positive thinkers find they can have overall improved health.
The way we treat ourselves is a direct indicator of our overall health status. For a happy and healthy lifestyle, we want to focus on more positive self-talk!
5 Steps to Stop Negative Self-Talk
Recognize Your Inner Critic
Negating negative self-talk begins with recognizing when they occur. When we skip this step of reflection, it becomes harder to pinpoint instances of self-talk. One way to begin this exercise is to give your inner critic a name. This way you can treat your negative thoughts objectively.
Instead of saying, “I am such a failure,” try, “my inner critic, Jane, says I am such a failure.” Do you notice the difference? The second sentence is placing your inner critic in a place where you can recognize and treat it as another side instead of the one negative side stated by you only. This practice allows you to rethink your mindset.
We are human, and we all make mistakes. Avoiding hurt and pain is why self-criticism appears, but it can often mislead you to believe it’s something bigger. Don’t dwell on them, instead learn from your inner critic and use it to move forward.
Think about changing your words. Replace, “I failed to reach the deadline for this project, so I am a failure,” with, “I failed to reach the deadline for this project, I saw the consequences of my actions and can use this moving forward to avoid the same mistake.” This thought process embraces human imperfection and helps you avoid negative self-talk.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Clutter causes an inability to think clearly, and with this, negative thoughts appear more often. Cleaning and eliminating non-conscious hoardings will give you a clear mindset. The environment around you is an easy result of what you may look, feel, and act like.
The people around you also affect your mental health because of their social influence. You must hold true to the values you individually hold. Weeding out external factors that cause distress will better help you to omit negativity. Above all, you are a product of your decisions and choices in life. Surrounding yourself with positivity can help to prevent being influenced by negativity.
Treat Yourself as Your Best Friend
The golden rule, treat others the way we want to be treated, also applies to ourselves. Treating yourself like you treat someone else in your life that you would do anything for will help objectify situations. Ask yourself, “would I tell these negative thoughts about myself to my best friend?”
If you answered yes, replace the negative thoughts with ones you’d tell your best friend if they were struggling. Revamping the way you treat yourself will allow you to go from being limited, to limitless.
Remember Facts Over Opinions
Thoughts can be manipulative, especially when based on personal opinion. Remember to focus on the facts of the matter and catch yourself when you start to draw full conclusions Watch out for false wording like, “they think I am worthless,” or “I don’t matter to them.” Instead try, “no one has ever told me I’m worthless or don’t matter to them, so I must be important in their eyes.”
Always check to see if what your inner critic said is really true or not. Slow down your thoughts as if you were talking to someone else inside your head. Be kind and objective to yourself, and this will limit unnecessary stress and false-negative assumptions.
Better Health and Positivity Begin Now
Nutrition for Longevity wants you to practice these five highly effective methods in your everyday routine for better mental and physical health and to end negative self-talk for good. Also make a commitment to eat with purpose with our selection of meal plans.