Combating Negative Self Talk: 4 Tools to Turn the Tide

We’ve all been there. The day starts a liiiiittle slower than usual, our minds are a little groggier than normal, and the smallest of inconveniences (that usually wouldn’t be too much of a bother) sets us off. From there, a negative self talk snowball might even seem like the rational response. The way we speak to ourselves on any given day is crucial to maintaining positive self esteem. Sometimes, being kind to ourselves can feel like climbing Mount Everest. When you’re looking to turn a bad day into a good one, or to simply turn the tide when you feel things swinging in the wrong direction, these four tools will make it easier to navigate out of a murky mindset.

1) Get Those Endorphins Going

It’s easy to reach for a chocolate or a glass of wine when we start to feel low or stressed. Although gratifying in the short-term, the response doesn’t do much for combating old patterns in the long run. When negative self talk starts to take over, finding as many positive responses or reactions is crucial to getting back to a better headspace. Working out is a fantastic positive response to anxiety, and can be applied to times when you’re overly hard on yourself too. It doesn’t have to manifest in the form of running a marathon the following day. Even just a brisk walk in nature, or a thirty minute yoga session can do wonders for the soul and is a key tool to maintaining a positive mindset.

2) Reprioritise Mindfulness

When we’re in a space where negative self talk has gotten the better of us, we can be sure that we’re not living in the present. Typically, this kind of mental chatter revolves around what we don’t have, what we should have done, what’s missing in our lives and why we aren’t adequate in comparison to others. All of these states divert us away from being mindful and present in the current moment. Reprioritising mindfulness, even just through a quick breathing technique or breaking away for a ten minute meditation, can be a game changer from resetting the mind, along with remembering some of the good things in your life in spite of the challenges you may be facing.

3) Spot and Overcome Perfectionism

I’ve talked about overcoming perfectionism for years now, mostly because I have had to work very hard to detach from the idea. After reading Mark Mansons ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ recently, I realised even more how important it is for us to let go of the concept altogether. If you’re in a space where things are happening in drill sergeant mode, and the slightest inconvenience is causing negative self talk, it may be linked to wanting things perfect to curb your anxiety. Spot it, detach from it and remind yourself that life is a continuous ebb and flow. It might even be useful to remind yourself of this during the short meditation from earlier too.

4) Practice a Changing State Mindset

As soon as you notice that your negative thoughts are gaining momentum, try to hit pause right away. If this is happening as soon as you wake up, remember that your first thoughts in the morning have the power to set the tone for the rest of the day. It takes less than 20 seconds for our thoughts to gain momentum after we wake up. Changing your mindset will take a bit of practice. Get into the habit of mentioning a few things you are grateful for before you go to sleep, carrying that over into practice when you first start your day too. It can be as simple as acknowledging a warm blanket, or excitement for a first cup of coffee. Just like negative thoughts can make headway fast, the same applies for positive thoughts too. Let’s make the rest of the day as joyful as it can be together.