Life is not a bed of roses. Even if it is, it’s full of thorns. Ouch! That’s the usual expression you hear as you negotiate through experiences every day. Isn’t it? But is it that difficult to tread on and exclaim Ah!-in joy? Not really!
No matter where you stand today, negative emotions would be a part of your life even in the future. No matter what you have got today to deal with, negative emotions will be there alongside all other things tomorrow as well. What I am trying to say is, you can’t really get rid of negative emotions altogether, unless you find the magic formula no one has found yet. But you surely can learn to deal with it and that’s more or less the magic wand you need to live life as a healthy individual.
What is Negative self-talk?
Before we look into what steps we can take to deal with negative self-talk, let’s first understand what it is.
The talk you have with yourself becomes negative when it instils or adds to the already existing emotions of fear, nervousness, insecurity etc. Unfortunately, it’s what covers a considerable part of most people’s self-talk. But we are here to change that, right? So let’s jump into the strategies and tips that will help you stop the inner voice you don’t like to hear, in other words, let’s see how you can live your best life.
Separate the Observing Mind From The Thinking Mind
We have two minds- the thinking mind and the observing mind. If you have a bit of interest in Zen philosophy or Buddhism, you might know about this. But for those who don’t, I’ll explain. The thinking mind is the one that chatters inside our head day in, day out. It doesn’t stop a single moment (unless you are great at meditation). Okay. Take a second and see what’s going on in your thinking mind at the moment? Maybe you are thinking of the important call you need to make after reading this article. Maybe you are caught up in the recent conversation you had with your friend. Now, it’s the thinking mind that is busy thinking about something or the other non-stop. But who do you think is observing what’s in your mind? This is what is called the observing mind. Yeah, we have two minds. Strange but true. And once you understand how to use the two minds to your own benefit, combating negative emotions doesn’t seem like a challenge anymore.
So what’s the point of explaining this? Imagine you gave an exam and failed to clear it. The immediate thought that pops up in your mind would be something like “I am so poor in studies’ ‘ or “I can’t do anything in life”. Now, that’s what negative self-talk sounds like. The worse part, this kind of self-talk more often than not lingers on and leaves you with a self-loathing person scared of trying again. Following are the things you should do to avoid that.
- Step one, use the observing mind to observe what your thinking mind is thinking instead of trying to ignore it.
- Now that you are observing, you have already separated the two minds and controlling one of them. Step two is to change the language and restructure the thoughts. For example, you can make your thinking mind say “I am feeling so dumb” instead of saying “I am dumb”. This reminds you that the negative self-talks are just thoughts and will hold no reality as soon as they pass( which they will).
When it gets overwhelming, the heart rate increases making us feel more stressed and restless. The cure to this is to take a pause and breathe until your judgement becomes clear. This break gives the much needed time to accept if anything bad happens and allows you to think clearly. When your mind gets a little pacified, instead of starting to go into the cycle of blaming yourself and feeling guilty, you get ideas to improve your mistakes. If nothing, meditation helps silence the noise inside your head, and that’s the beginning to stop negative self-talk.
Remember that Things always get better
Hard times and adverse situations can arrive at your door uninvited and oftentimes you don’t get the option to send them back from the entrance. Therefore, you must remember that they’ll leave just as they came. Or else, every time you face an obstacle, you’ll start the “why me” rumination and get stuck in that place. Try instead to think about the ways to get out of the situation keeping in mind all the while that nothing lasts forever. Nor will the experience which makes you feel pathetic right now. When you get the assurance that things will get better, you start feeling better as well.
Build A Routine
An empty mind is devil’s workshop. The more time you are left doing nothing, the more time you give your brain to think about all possible things it can think of to humiliate you. Things you could have done better, experiences you could have avoided, and decisions you regret- everything you have done wrong till date, your mind will count them for you.
You can avoid this trap by building a routine so that you are involved in doing things rather than thinking. Imagine waking up with a plan, and completing one task after another. Where’s the time to overthink? Plus, feeling productive replaces feeling pessimistic when you see yourself getting work done.
Let me guess. It is not the first time you are being asked to feel grateful. Is it? And probably you are thinking of skipping the point. Maybe because you have never tried it out. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be here. If you really want to stop the habit of negative self-talk, and the detrimental effects it has on your health, please read this out.
Research shows that those who practice gratitude:
-experience reduced level of stress
-have a higher level of satisfaction
-get better quality of sleep
-find it easy to attain their goals
-and are able to form better connections
You now have the option to skip the benefits by skipping this simple practice. But as far as I know, you are someone looking for a change, and you’d implement all these ways discussed to deal with the thoughts that don’t serve you. Great decision!
Negative self-talk not only affects your confidence level but also prevents you from reaching your potential. It holds you back and the only way to stop that from happening is to learn the right ways to deal with negative self-talk. The less control you have over your mind, the more power it gets to destroy your peace. Be kind to your mind because the person you spend most of your time with is you. I know feeling sorry for yourself is the last thing you want to feel. However, if most of your time is spent around negativity, you end up feeling sorry and depressed. Hopefully, you’ll break away from the pattern from now and start trusting yourself TODAY!