Unlock 7 Proven Strategies to Stop Negative Self Talk and Reclaim Your Joy

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Ever feel like your brain’s got more drama than a soap opera? Let’s tune in to something a bit more uplifting, and stop the negative self talk.

What is negative self talk?

Negative Self Talk is like that uninvited party guest who shows up, eats all the good snacks, and then complains about the music. 

Yeah, you know the one. It’s that inner monologue that keeps saying you’re not good enough, smart enough, or fill-in-the-blank enough. It’s like having a mini-critic in your head, armed with a megaphone, always ready to shout, “Boo, you stink!”

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Negative Self Talk often disguises itself as “being realistic” or “preparing for the worst.” But let’s spill the tea, there’s a difference between planning and outright doom-scrolling through your own thoughts

The Many Masks of Negative Self Talk

Not all negative self-talk wears the same costume! Sometimes it’s sneaky. So let’s break down the usual suspects:

The Naysayer:

This one is the straight-up hater. It says things like, “I can’t do it,” or “I’ll never get that promotion.”

Captain Catastrophe:

Why think of the worst possible outcome? Because Captain Catastrophe already has! “I messed up that presentation, so I’ll probably get fired, become homeless, and raise alley cats.”

The Guilt Tripper:

This one loves to dwell in the past. “If only I had done XYZ, things would be different now. It’s all my fault.”

The Mind-Reader:

No, you’re not psychic, but your negative self-talk thinks you are! “She didn’t text back; she must hate me.”

The Fortune Teller:

Ah, a crystal ball!  “I will fail at this. I just know it.”

The Perfectionist:

Never good enough. Never. “I got an A-? Why couldn’t it be an A?”

Why is it hard to stop the negative self talk in your mind?

First up, let’s be clear: Your brain is not the villain here; it’s more like a well-meaning but overeager intern. Back in the caveman days, being a Debbie Downer had its perks. You’d hear a rustle in the bushes and think, “That could be a tiger out to eat me.” Cue the running and the screaming. In that context, assuming the worst wasn’t just a buzzkill; it was a survival skill.

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Fast forward to the present, and our brains haven’t quite caught up. We’re no longer on the dinner menu for predators, but our minds are still tuned to “alert mode.” So now, instead of worrying about tigers, we stress over unanswered texts and social faux pas. “Did I say ‘you too’ when the server said ‘enjoy your meal’? Oh no, I’ll never show my face there again!”

Another culprit? Social conditioning. Imagine your brain as a sponge. It soaks up messages from family, friends, media, and let’s not forget those weird, random YouTube comments you stumbled upon at 2 a.m. All of this creates a cocktail of shoulds, coulds, and woulds that make up your inner monologue.

Stopping the negative chatter is kinda like teaching an old dog new tricks. Possible, but it takes some tasty treats and a lot of patience. Your brain needs some retraining, like a software update, but for your neurons. 

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How to stop negative self talk?

1) Recognize and Name the Blabbermouth:

You know how villains always lose their power when you say their name out loud? Try that with your negative self-talk. Call it out. “Oh, hey, it’s you, Mr. Negative Nelly, coming to rain on my parade again!”

2) Take Control of Your Time:

You’re the boss! Why waste time stewing in negativity? Be here, now. This is where the fun’s at! And remember, no one’s got time for self-pity when there’s a life to enjoy.

3) Create a Safe Emotional Sanctuary:

Inside your mind, build a cozy nook that’s all about good vibes. Have a go-to positive mantra, memory, or image that you can flip to when you catch yourself going down Negativity Lane.

4) Go for the Flip:

Turn that negative statement into its positive opposite. “I can’t do this” becomes “Watch me rock this!” Trust me; your brain will eventually catch on.

5) Connect with Your Inner Guidance:

Let’s be real. You’re amazing, even if you don’t feel it 24/7. Take some moments for mindful contemplation. Self-love, acceptance, and a dollop of forgiveness work like chicken soup for the soul.

6) Talk to Someone You Trust:

Spill the tea! Sometimes, it takes saying it out loud to realize how silly or unfounded your negative thoughts are. Besides, your friends probably can’t wait to remind you how fabulous you are.

7) Laughter is the Best Medicine:

When in doubt, watch a funny video or call that friend who makes you laugh so hard you snort. Laughter rewires your brain for positivity faster than you can say “Ha!”

Remember, it’s all about practice. You’re reprogramming years of habit here, so cut yourself some slack if Negative Nelly sneaks back in. Just keep at it, and your inner dialogue will be singing your praises in no time! 

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20 responses to “Unlock 7 Proven Strategies to Stop Negative Self Talk and Reclaim Your Joy”

  1. For myself, taking a minute to get out of the moment helps. It starts with a check-in of “what am I feeling right now, and do I know why I am reacting this way?”.

    This can be followed with “Ok, so I feel -emotion- as a reaction to -event-, how do I wish to respond next? If what’s bothering me is something I can fix quickly and kindly, let’s fix it. If not, what can I do to make this moment better for myself? Is there a way I can help myself reset or see this in a better way?”

    I know that if I take a bad mood home I’ll be unfairly bringing down the mood and may even take my bad mood out on my loved ones.

    Letting one bad event in my day ruin the rest of my day doesn’t make sense, and letting my mood ruin my family’s day makes even less sense.

  2. If you don’t think other people should feel poorly about themselves, then why do you allow yourself to feel that way? You deserve better than to feel these negative emotions, but only you have the capacity to rid yourself of them. I would try reading positive affirmations with the mindset that you DO deserve better (because you certainly do). You live this life for you and literally no one else so it’s important that you self-prioritize, befriend yourself, and love yourself at full capacity despite anyone else because THAT is what you deserve. Don’t settle for less.

  3. For me it’s all about changing my rhetoric. Rather than saying “this is terrible” just change it to “this isn’t the best thing in the world”. Simple changes like that keep things in perspective

  4. Mental framing like this feels pretty important to me. Depending on the situation, the two reframings that work the best for me are:
    1) thinking about the worst realistic outcome, and then imagining regular moment-by-moment life under that outcome. Trees are still beautiful. Sandwiches are still tasty. What’s so bad?

    2) changing from “this is bad/unfair/etc” to “this is a challenging situation, which means it’s an awesome opportunity to grow”. Teaching myself to think “thanks for the opportunity” whenever I experience some challenge has helped me break out of a lot of negativity. Not sure how much this is based on my growth-centric personality and how much is universal.

  5. Someone’s perception (words) about you, doesn’t say anything about you but says a lot about them. Everyone’s reality is based on their experiences and perceptions and their words shouldn’t have power on you.

  6. Drink some water, do physical work, practice kindness and forgiveness, do yoga, find distractions. All are beneficial and some allow the unconscious to process the emotions symbolically and give you a chance to take ahold of these pathways through narrative/identity controls. Working towards an embodied flow state is the ideal, so practice this even when you’re not in a negative spiral. Work towards a nondual consciousness through mindfulness, cbt, and “knowing thyself”/studying. This works well to alleviate your associations with societal constructs, and ego attachments, but some times the narrative/identity controls necessitates the boundaries of the ego and requires you to motivate yourself internally to do the uncomfortable things externally. You basically have to find a valid motivating voice inside yourself to voice your concerns to others – all while staying mindful of the process so you can engrain the behaviour into your ego. …not an easy thing to do, which is why meditation helps in making us mindful even during the stressful moments so that we don’t go into autopilot.

  7. Embrace the negativity. It’s ok to be negative and experience negative emotions such as anger or sadness. It’s perfectly human, enjoy the balance.
    Speaking to your point about being stuck in a spiral of negative thoughts though. Too much of one thing leaves no room for anything else. I think there have been some pretty good comments here thus far. IMO taking a moment to go for a walk, or think on why you’re feeling a certain way, and then maybe thinking on “just where do thoughts come from?”.
    Usually these help me out personally, take a moment, enjoy my surroundings and the time I have, throw some positive to balance this negative out. Equilibrium ftw 😉

  8. You need to get beneath the level of thought.Thinking can’t solve thoughts,but meditation done deeply can go beyond them.You are identifying with your mental chatter and that can lead to negativity that stays with you.I recommend to not involve thinking during your meditation practice.Use a mantra instead and focus lightly on it and let it bring you deeper than the thought process.Our surface mind can cause us many problems, but our fully conscious meditative mind can solve them.You need to bask in stillness, and carry that stillness everywhere you go.

    • Love what you’ve written. “Our surface mind can cause us many problems, but our fully conscious meditative mind can solve them.You need to bask in stillness, and carry that stillness everywhere you go.” Yes, yes and yes

  9. I tend to yell “stop” at myself in my head and tell myself I’m being irrational and just spiralling about something others don’t care about. It works most of the time. Otherwise I’ll try focus on my breathing and counting my breath until I’m calm.
    Worst case scenario, I’ll watch videos or listen to music while doing logic puzzles (sudoku, kakuro, nonograms or similar puzzles) it forces your mind to focus on something else

  10. I don’t try to stop my thoughts. I engage my thoughts to see what’s going on in me. Journaling to dig into the psyche.
    Thoughts are like feelings, useful for diagnostics to see what is going on.

    One might make a case that attacking the thought stream is a form of self loathing.

  11. I’m using your phrase “Right now I choose to be happy and kind” and I feel myself smiling every time I say it, just can’t help it. I’ve added the word Calm to it. Grateful thanks to you.

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