At times, we can be our own worst enemies. Negativity and self-doubt hurt us worse than the words of others, but once we get used to hurting ourselves, it can be hard to reverse the pattern.
Negative self-talk doesn’t just make an impact in the moment, a pattern of this behavior can lead to depression, anxiety, and sky-rocketing stress levels.
It isn’t about one specific instance where you’ve doubted yourself or been negative, it’s the pattern that will ultimately break you down. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to keep doing it.
There are ways that you can change the way you think about yourself and break the pattern of negativity, but it takes work. Instead of looking at the negatives about your life, your health, or whatever it is, you have to force yourself to find the positives, even if it seems like they don’t exist.
Here are four ways to banish negative self-talk from your life.
1. Stop Thinking Black and White
Generalizations and absolutes don’t exist in reality as often as you’d like to think. Negative people have a tendency to use words like “always,” or “never,” but rarely do these terms apply to their life. Having a bad day doesn’t mean that it will always be like that; you need to learn from the experience and move forward.
2. Explore the Opposite
When you start to think negatively about yourself, try to flip it around and think something completely opposite. If you tell yourself, “I’ll never get that promotion,” immediately force yourself to think, “I’m going to get that promotion.” Positivity has the converse effect of negativity, which means it has the power to actually help you achieve your goals.
3. Know What Hurts You
In order to break the pattern of negativity, you need to understand what puts you in a negative place. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help people stop their negative habits because it’s based on the belief that thoughts influence feelings, and in turn, behavior. If you can identify your harmful thought triggers, you can challenge them, which will change your behavioral pattern in the future.
4. Go Over the Worst-Case Scenario
When you start to go down a negative path, dwelling on the negative consequences of a decision or action, play out the worst-case scenario in your head. Be as detailed as possible and don’t leave anything out that you’re afraid of. Seeing it all at once, even just in your head, will help you realize that reality probably won’t be as bad. The mind tends to exaggerate scary, negative thoughts, which can grow if you let them. Don’t let them.