Written by: Jacqueline Hopper, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
9 strategies to talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.
Negative self-talk can have a significant impact on our mental health and overall well-being, often leading to feelings of self-doubt, decreased self-esteem, and decreased motivation.
However, recognizing and addressing these inner dialogues can make a world of difference in both our personal and professional lives. I’m going to explore nine ways to deal with negative self-talk, which can be used by anyone looking to improve their mindset and outlook on life. These strategies are also great for anyone who struggles with anxiety or overthinking, as these things can often be the result of a deeper hurt in ourselves. If you use these methods you will learn how to foster a more positive thought process, ultimately promoting improved mental health, increased confidence, and a more optimistic approach to life's various challenges. If this is something you still struggle with, you can always drop me a line, and we can talk about how you can overcome the negative self-talk and live a more fulfilling and uplifting life.
Understanding negative self-talk
Negative self-talk is the critical inner voice that often points out your flaws, mistakes, and limitations. This internal dialogue can have significant effects on emotions, behavior, and overall well-being. They're called cognitive distortions, and they're tricks your mind plays on you.
Common cognitive distortions
Cognitive distortions are common thinking patterns that often contribute to negative self-talk. Some of the most common cognitive distortions include:
Personalizing: Believing you are to blame for negative events, even those outside of your control.
Catastrophizing: Magnifying and exaggerating the impact of negative events or potential problems.
Filtering: Focusing selectively on negative aspects while disregarding positive ones.
Overgeneralization: Drawing broad conclusions based on a single event or piece of evidence.
Polarizing: Seeing things as all good or all bad, without acknowledging any gray areas.
Perfectionism: Setting unrealistically high standards and expecting oneself to always meet them.
These cognitive distortions can lead to limiting beliefs and misconceptions that fuel negative self-talk.
The psychology of self-criticism
The inner critic is a psychological concept referring to the internal voice that judges and criticizes oneself. This inner critic can be shaped by a lot of different factors, like childhood experiences, social influences, and personal beliefs. Some common forms of self-criticism include:
Automatic thoughts: These are spontaneous, unfiltered thoughts that often reflect underlying cognitive distortions.
Emotional reasoning: Making decisions based on feelings rather than objective evidence.
Minimization: Downplaying one's strengths and accomplishments or the importance of positive events.
If you can recognize your cognitive distortions, or your largest criticisms of yourself, you’ll have an easier time challenging and changing those thought patterns. I’m going to share with you some strategies and actions you can take to help with negative self-talk, but first let’s talk about why it’s bad and how it affects us.
Impacts of negative self-talk
Mental health consequences
Negative self-talk has significant consequences on mental health. For example, it can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. These negative thoughts can also affect our confidence and self-esteem, causing us to doubt our abilities and remove ourselves from social situations. This can make us feel alone, or just have a terrible mood in general.
Physical health consequences
The impacts of negative self-talk are not limited to mental health; they also extend to physical health. I talk a lot about how our experiences in the physical world is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves and the higher power, and it is especially clear when we engage in negative self-talk. When you’re always talking badly about and to yourself, your stress levels can increase, impacting your ability to manage stress effectively. And we’ve all heard it from our doctors how stress can lead to a whole host of problems, like lack of sleep, migraines, stomach issues, and even our heart. High levels of stress have been linked to increased risk for heart disease and other related conditions. Which is why managing negative self-talk is essential for promoting overall physical well-being, especially if you’re someone who is prone to stress.
Transforming negative energy: 9 spiritual practices for self-love
Transforming negative energy into self-love can involve a variety of spiritual practices that encourage self-compassion, mindfulness, and emotional resilience. These practices, when integrated into daily life, can help all of us overcome negative self-talk and create a more positive self-image.
1. Tonglen meditation
This ancient Tibetan practice, meaning "giving and taking," involves sending and receiving energy. Practitioners of Tonglen meditation focus on taking in negative emotions such as pain, suffering, and fear, and then releasing positive emotions like peace, joy, and well-being. Utilizing this technique promotes emotional balance and a deeper sense of compassion for oneself as well as others. It’s not about discouraging the negative emotions we feel, but recognizing them as part of this divine and human experience that we are living in, and finding balance.
Mindfulness practices encourage being fully present and aware of one's thoughts, feelings, and experiences. By thoughtfully engaging with the present moment, we can recognize and redirect negative self-talk. Mindfulness exercises include breathwork, body scanning, and gentle yoga movements, and meditation that foster a nurturing connection with the self. If you struggle with meditation, I have a meditation album that engages with the different chakras of our bodies and helps you understand and connect with yourself in a more intimate way.
Positive affirmations are a powerful means of countering negative thoughts and establishing a healthier self-image. Statements, such as "I am deserving of love and kindness," serve as reminders of our worth and value. Repeating affirmations regularly can help to override harmful thought patterns and generate self-compassion.
Practicing gratitude allows us to shift our focus away from negative energy and acknowledge the positive things in our lives. There are so many ways to practice gratitude, like daily journaling and joining a group that shows support and accountability.
Engaging in self-care practices like exercise, proper nutrition, and restorative sleep helps meet physical and emotional needs, nurturing love and respect for ourselves. Intentional self-care can reduce stress and negative self-talk, leading to an overall improved quality of life. I have a podcast episode that goes deeper into nourishing our bodies with a proper diet and understanding our connection with the divine and the foods we consume. Take a listen and find inspiration from it.
Embracing forgiveness, both for ourselves and others, can be a transformative and healing experience. Letting go of past hurts and mistakes allows for emotional freedom and fosters self-love. By integrating these spiritual practices into daily life, we can transform negative energy and cultivate an environment of self-love and compassion. United, these techniques can empower us to grow emotionally and spiritually, embracing self-acceptance and achieving greater emotional balance.
7. Employing logic and reason
Challenge negative thoughts by evaluating their accuracy and rationality can help individuals see the thought for what it is and replace it with a more balanced perspective. Is what you’re saying to yourself or thinking true? Is it supported by fact or are you manipulating yourself to think of the worst possible outcome? If we look at the situation with a more objective eye, we’ll find that most times the things we are telling ourselves aren’t really true.
A sense of humor can help us see the lighter side of life, making it easier to accept and move on from challenging situations. Humor acts as a buffer against negativity by promoting positive thinking and enhancing emotional resilience.
9. Surrounding yourself with positive people
Having a support system of individuals who encourage positivity and offer a compassionate ear can make a significant difference in overcoming negativity. If you are serious about taking your spiritual and mental health to a transcendent place, as a gift to my valuable readers like you, I have created a guide that gives you 5 Ways To Create
Strength & Stability During Uncertain Times. This guide will help you learn how to reclaim your power and your peace in the midst of anxiety and fear.
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Jacqueline Hopper, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jacqueline Hopper is a Self Mastery Guide, Energy Healer and Best Selling Author. She is also the host of the podcast & The Sovereign Soul. Using her psychic abilities she supports others with opening their intuitive, psychic and healing abilities so they can live their most authentic life!