You’re caught up in a cycle. You know the one. You’ve been talking down to yourself for a while. Every word in your mind points out your flaws and mistakes to where you think you’re going to go crazy from listening to it if you haven’t already.
Negative self-talk can be just this insidious. It gets in your head, courtesy of previous experiences, and negative input from people who don’t always mean well. Once there, it plays the same song on repeat, growing somehow worse with every retelling until you quit trying. Your dreams stall out, and you find yourself doing very little at all.
Finally, you need to take your life back and put an end to the negative self-talk once and for all.
Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Try these things:
Find the Calm
First of all, you can’t combat anything when you’re overly emotional and overwhelmed mentally. Find a quiet place and sit down to take a few deep breaths. If you can, meditate or try a mindfulness exercise until you can reach a peaceful place internally.
Take Note of What You’re Thinking
Don’t avoid negative thoughts. Listen to it. What is it saying? Whose voice does it sound like?
Dig into the Roots
Now ask yourself what the thought represents. Where did this come from? Is this from an expectation you put on yourself at some point, or does it come from someone else entirely?
Drop the Unreasonable Expectation
Are you trying too hard to be perfect in some regard? Is there a more reasonable expectation you can put on yourself in the place of this thought?
Turn It Around
What is the positive counterpoint to this thought? For example, if you’re worried about how bad you are with money, remind yourself of a time when you saved up for something you wanted, or think about a time when you paid off a debt and how good it felt afterward.
Create a Habit
If this thought is one which comes around often, what is the new thought you want to replace it with? How can you make this thought a habit? Consider this: the more you react in a new way to an old stimulus, the quicker a new habit is formed, and the old reaction disappears.
In the end, the only way to get rid of a negative thought is to consciously put a halt to it. Once you’ve gone through these steps, tell yourself to stop when the idea comes up again, and keep telling it to stop until it goes away completely.
Please note: You don’t have to listen to negativity but sometimes it becomes so firmly entrenched you might have trouble dislodging it by yourself. When this happens, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talking to a trusted friend or counselor can help you lay this negative chatter to rest once and for all.