Is negative self-talk making you feel anxious and stressed? Do you find it tough to stay positive and not let the negativity overwhelm you?
Negative Self-Talk Step #1: Recognize Your Negative Self-Talk
The first step in the process? Controlling your negative self-talk by recognizing when you experience it. Notice what you say to yourself. People who have issues with negative self-talk and anxiety will often find themselves:
- Experiencing worry.
- Unable to concentrate on what they are doing. Focusing only on what worries them.
- Feeling a sense of doom or danger.
- Avoiding that which makes you feel stressed, anxious, or worried.
You may have some idea of what triggers your anxiety, but you may not understand why you have that worry in the first place. Consulting with a therapist, trained to address anxiety, can be helpful for understanding your worries and determining how negative self-talk contributes to them. This is also important if you engage negative self-talk that might put your safety at risk (thoughts of suicide, etc.).
Negative Self-Talk Step #2: Take a Moment to Breathe
When you begin to experience negative thoughts like, “I can’t do this” or, “I’m not good enough,” take a moment to pause and breathe. Take several slow, steady breaths to help calm you down so that you can begin to think more clearly. One symptom of anxiety is increased heart and respiratory rates. There are simple breathing techniques you can practice that involve breathing in, holding the breath, and exhaling, that are based on mindfulness meditation.
Negative Self-Talk Step #3: Say Something Positive to Yourself!
It sounds so simple, but repeating a saying, phrase, quote, or mantra can make a big difference towards beating negative self-talk. Say something that matters and that you believe in. Repeating a corny phrase or saying won’t be effective when you experience anxiety and negative self-talk in the moment. Consider these ideas for inspiration:
- A quote from a historical, political, or religious figure you admire.
- Advice from a parent, friend, teacher, or coach whom you respect.
- Words of wisdom from a particular book or text that you connect with, such as a religious work or literature.
- A saying or slogan from a group or organization that you admire. For instance, a military phrase like, “adapt and overcome.
Whatever it is, this saying should be something that you can easily remember, repeat to yourself, and inspires a positive point of view.
Negative Self-Talk Step #4: Do What You Can to Stay Positive
There are lots of things you can do to keep a positive attitude and fight back negative self-talk. You can:
- Be physically active. Physical activity can help contribute to mood.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in nutritious foods. Junk food only drags you down.
- Set goals for yourself. Include action steps as to how you can achieve those goals.
- Be with positive people. Have you ever heard the phrase, “misery loves company?”
- Have reminders of past success. When you are having doubts, keep reminder of previous successes to yourself. These could be awards, photos, letters, etc.
- Use a calendar that has an inspirational quote of the day.
You may not be able to control negative self-talk, but you have a lot of power as to how you handle it. Knowing that you have resources available and strategies in place can help for when it does happen. That way, your anxiety doesn’t go through the roof and leave you incapacitated by your negative self-talk. Rather, you can push forward and beat it back.
Questions, Concerns, Thoughts?
I invite you to call me for a free 15 – minute phone consultation to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about anxiety, treatment and my practice. Please visit my website @ www.theanxietydocseattle.com or call me directly @ (206) 745-4933.