How to say “no” to negative self-talk

We all talk to ourselves, we have that little voice in our minds that tells us that we’re doing well, or that maybe we shouldn’t do something. Our self talk is important, it can help us regulate ourselves, and help us make decisions, it can also motivate us like a little cheerleader in our brains. However, our self-talk can be negative, too, and when the talking because negative and unhelpful, then problems start to arise. We become demotivated, disinterested, negative in things that we do.

So how to change those negative phrases into positive ones?

  1. This may sound repetitive – but practice mindfulness. Mindfulness may feel like it’s the practice of emptying our minds, it’s actually the practice of disciplining our minds. The goal isn’t to not have thoughts, but to learn how to let thoughts go – so that later on, we can let go of those thoughts that don’t serve us.
  2. Acknowledge what the negative talk is saying – This may sound counterintuitive. You’re telling me to change the negative self talk I have to acknowledge it first? Yes. The thought is there for a reason, so look at it, and then change it into a more motivating phrase. For example, the phrase “I’m so lazy I never give my homework on time” can be changed to “I tend to not prioritise my school work because I find it boring at times, but I can make the decision to focus more in that area”.
  3. Use your name – Instead of saying “I’m so bad at homework” say, “Maria, sometimes you get wrong answers, but sometimes you get right ones too. Let’s see how we can get more right ones”.
  4. Be your own cheerleader – create a motivating mantra, like “I can do it”, or “I’m awesome!” and repeat it to yourself over and over. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not.

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