Does your inner voice sometimes turn against you? Maybe you are feeling anxious or nervous, and that little voice inside tells you to stop, you are too far out of your depth, and you can’t do this.
Negative self-talk can be crippling and make us feel terrible. It's something that many people deal with on a daily basis, to some extent or another. So what do you do when you start to feel the negativity creeping in, and the self-doubt takes over? We have some coping strategies here to help you beat your own negative self-talk:
1. Distract yourself.
Just like distracting a toddler from a tantrum, when you feel the negative self-talk starting do something to distract your mind. Read a book, listen to a podcast, strike up a conversation with someone close by. This will move your mind away from the negativity and get you thinking about something else. Stay away from browsing your phone or using social media - these can isolate you from the outside world and make negative feelings even worse.
2. Stay calm and be kind to yourself.
Negative self-talk can be frustrating and build anxiety. This leads to an ever increasing whirlwind of emotions, where you berate yourself for your feelings and end up feeling even worse. Take some deep breaths and calm yourself down. Be kind to yourself. Feel compassion for yourself, just as you would for a child who is sad.
Guided meditation can help relieve tension and bring your attention back to kindness. I use the app 'Simple Habit' which has some excellent guided meditations for times when you are feeling particularly anxious or upset.
3. Write about it and prove yourself wrong.
Are you feeling anxious about a particular event? For example do you have a tough interview coming up and you are feeling low in confidence? Write down what you are feeling. This might feel like a difficult stream of negativity to follow, but just get the words out of your head and onto a page. Then think about what these words mean objectively. Are these things really true? For example, you may be feeling anxious about an interview and have some impostor syndrome kicking in.
Find ways to prove yourself wrong by thinking deeply about what you have written down and whether it is indeed factually correct. Or is it just your mind making things sound worse than they are. If you really feel the words are justified, then jot down some actions you can take to remedy them. Maybe you could practice some interview questions, or research the organisation a bit more etc. The important thing is to do something about the feelings so you can overcome them.
4. Get out into nature.
Nature has been proven to have wonderfully restorative powers for people with depression or low mood. Go for a walk or get out to your local park or nature reserve. Breathe in the fresh air and watch the world go by. Be present in the moment as you stroll through nature. Notice the little things and take in the landscape. Exercise will help to release endorphins and improve your mood, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and get that heart rate up too!
5. Spend time with family and friends.
Find the people who love you the most and spend time with them. They love you for who you are, and can help you relax. Talk to them about your feelings if you want to. You'll be surprised just how many people deal with similar issues on a daily basis. What would you say to them if they came to you with their own negative feelings? Again, show compassion to yourself and open up to those close to you.
Negative self-talk can be debilitating, and can quickly spiral into dark feelings. Use the techniques here to move away from negativity. Be gentle with yourself and find peace so you can move on with your day in a positive way.
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