It is completely natural to have a little bit of negative self-talk from time to time, but if you find that it’s beginning to cause you stress or affect your mind, body, or spirit, it may be time to make a change.
We all have an inner critic and a little bit of self-criticism can be a really good thing, especially if we use it to help motivate us, keep ourselves on track, or keep our goals in sight. However, if you let it go too far, it can really backfire on you.
Here are a few tips for the next time you find yourself heading down a negative self-talk rabbit hole:
Give your inner critic a name
Let’s say her name is “Susan”. The next time “Susan” comes out and tries to tell you that you aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough… you’ll say “Uh oh, Susan is doing that thing again.” You’ll be able to separate her from yourself and shake it off. If may sound like a funny thing to do, but try it next time she shows up and you’ll be surprised at how well it works.
Say it out loud
Sometimes when you catch yourself thinking negative limiting beliefs, say them out loud to help bring them into perspective. Even better, say it to a friend—chances are they’ll set your story straight real quick.
Change your language
If you find yourself starting a sentences like this: “I hate this” or “I suck” or “I’m not smart enough”, change those to “I find that challenging”, “That may not be my strong suit”, or “I am capable of learning that.” Turn those statements around by replacing them with something good, the same way you would replace an unhealthy meal with a healthy one when making a lifestyle change. Keep repeating this until you find yourself needing to do it less and less.
In the midst of it all, remember that your immediate thoughts and feelings aren’t always accurate or real. Your perspective of yourself can be skewed just like everyone else’s can, and can largely be based on your current mood and bias.
So the next time that little voice tries to judge, belittle, or doubt you, tell “Susan” to take a hike and that you just don’t have time for her anymore.
I would love to hear how you combat any negative self-talk.
Vanessa Jahnke is the founder of PURE Gym & Juicery in Penticton, BC. She is a certified holistic health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the creator of Healthy for Life, a monthly online wellness subscription. Her blog is loaded with healthy, easy to make recipes and easy to implement tools to achieve a happier, healthier life.