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How To Tame Negative Self Talk In Your Mind

How To Tame Negative Self Talk In Your Mind

Have you ever been plagued by negative self talk or doubt? Perhaps you have refrained from applying for a job as you believe that you are under-qualified for it, opting instead of pursuing more modest opportunities. This is a clear reflection of low self-esteem, while it also highlights the role that our thought processes play in creating our own reality.

This was also explored by an interesting study from 2013, which showed that women who had a poor body image and considered themselves to be fat often squeezed sideways through doorways, despite the fact that they were relatively slim and had ample room to move through.

How to Tame Negative self talk

While defining the problem is easy, however, resolving it is far more difficult. It is important to resist the urge to eliminate self-talk (which can also be used for positive affirmation), and instead understand how this can be controlled and used to influence our outlook for the better. Here are some steps towards achieving this:

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1. Use ‘You’ or your name to create distance and objectivity

One of the main issues with self talk is the use of the pronoun ‘I’, as this creates subjectivity and touches innumerable emotional triggers. It is far better to use your own name or ‘you’ in this instance, as it instantly establishes a sense of distance while enabling you to provide more objective and constructive self-advice. This underlines the subtle science of self talk and allows you to use this as a method for delivering informed feedback.

2. Give clear, concise and instructional self talk

If the first steps helps us to create distance, the second allows us to leverage this to deliver concise and instructional self talk. Delivery is all important, as allowing yourself to mumble and share negative thoughts simply creates further doubt while offering no positive resolutions.

Here’s a personal example. After being promoted at work, I sought to create distance and began to think objectively about why this may have been the case. Self talk then enabled me to consider these as single, concise points, providing insight and offering instructional advice on how to improve myself in the future.

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3. Use present tense messages to create a forward-thinking outlook

On a similar note, you often find that negative self talk is characterised by introspection and reflection on past experiences. It also tends to focus on mistakes that have prevented you from achieving a personal or career goal in the past, creating an overwhelming sense of fear that is hard to escape from.

You can negate this by using present tense messages when engaging in self talk, focusing on what can be done in the moment and adapting your outlook to create a forward-thinking outlook. If you have had a job application rejected in the post, for example, internalise reactionary steps that can drive progress (such as asking for feedback from the employer or identifying new opportunities) rather than dwelling on what has gone before.

4. Turn self talk into an inner conversation

Another issue with self talk is that it can become extremely introspective, meaning that we forget to challenge negative thoughts and comments. If we consider self-talk as more of an internalised, two-way conversation between alternative viewpoints, however, it is possible use this as a platform for proactive problem solving.

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For example, whenever negative self talk statements such as ‘I can’t’ enter your mind, you should respond this immediately with ‘why not?’ This forces you to consider the initial, negative statement more objectively, while challenging you to uncover solutions rather than focusing solely on the problem in hand.

This provides a quick transition from abstract negativity to constructive positive thinking, helping you to cope when negative thoughts inevitably spring to mind.

5. Externalise your self talk in writing

Throughout history, studies have shown that the externalisation of angst and negativity has a positive impact on everything from anger management to treating life-threatening illnesses. Writing is a particularly effective vehicle, thanks to the distance that we create with the written word and the sense of anonymity that it afford us.

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In this respect, externalising negative self talk by committing it to paper is an excellent idea. You can do this through a regular journal or sporadic letters to yourself, so long as you read these documents and provide an outlet for your negativity. For those of you who are courageous and dealing with a specific source of negativity, you may even want to consider publishing your thoughts in a publicly accessible blog.

The key is that you are comfortable with the format, and willing to externalise your negativity in an open and progressive manner.

Featured photo credit: Kevin Lee via stocksnap.io

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

We are given life with many opportunities to make it everything we want it to be and more. If you find that you’ve slipped into living a boring life, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and what you can start doing now to make it more interesting.

Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list can definitely make any day or life more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaningful) one!

1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

Imagine being a young child. Life was never boring, was it? That’s because children harness every ounce of creativity they have in order to try new things.

What would your 7-year-old self want to do in this moment? Maybe they’d pick up a paintbrush and try to paint the landscape around them. May they would go outside and build something with random materials around the yard. Maybe they would raid the fridge and put together a dish they’ve never seen before.

Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play and use your creativity to its fullest.

2. Go Play With Kids

Speaking of little kids, if you have your own (or a niece or nephew), go play with them!

Kids are absolutely hilarious, so it’s simply impossible to be bored when you’re around them. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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3. Play Cell Phone Roulette

You’ll need at least one buddy for this, but this is a great way to avoid a boring life. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one, and (if it feels right) call the person.

You could spark an incredible catch-up session or, at the very least, remind someone that you’re thinking of them. Neither are boring.

4. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

This is a great part of a gratitude practice. We often forget to thank the people who do things for us, especially if we have come to expect those things. For example, have you ever thought about thanking your mom for that weekly phone call? Or thanking your sister for always sending you a homemade gift on your birthday?

Take time to think of at least 5 people you would like to say thank you to and write out a card. You could even write them out for random people in your neighborhood, like the local librarian, a teacher at your child’s school, or the accountant at your bank.

Anyone and everyone appreciates being thanked for their efforts.

5. Sign up for a Class

Nowadays, there are classes for everything. To make it as interesting as possible, try finding one that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, like salsa lessons, improv, or boxing.

Otherwise, try to find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, like pottery, photography, or a foreign language course.

What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people, which will add even more interest to your life!

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6. Talk to Your Grandparents About Their Lives

We often underestimate how interesting the elderly are. You can rest assured that any elderly person you talk to will not have had a boring life! Take some time to talk to them and hear their interesting stories. You may even find that this motivates you to go out and find your own interesting experiences.

7. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage. If you’re not into comedy, find an open mic that focuses on reading poetry or short stories and bring your own. These groups tend to be incredibly supportive for anyone who is willing to be brave enough to get up and try.

8. Do Something for Someone Else

Showing kindness automatically makes you feel good, but doing these small acts will also help to ensure that you don’t have a boring life. Try doing one or two things each week that are outside your normal routine.

For example, you could make a batch of cookies for the mailperson or help your elderly neighbor organize one of their rooms. There are a million ways to show kindness to those around you. Tap into your creativity and find your own or use some of the ideas from the image below[1].

Do random acts of kindness to avoid living a boring life.

    9. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

    If you have your own place, there is always a project that needs to get done. Many people simply pay for someone else to do it in order to avoid the hassle, but taking on a DIY project can make a boring life much more interesting.

    It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Maybe you repaint an old vase or build a spice shelf out of used pallets.

    If you need ideas, you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

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    10. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

    This will give you something to look forward to. One study actually found that most travelers are happiest before a vacation[2]. Therefore, simply planning a trip will boost your mood, even if you can’t actually take the vacation right now.

    Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is also fun and relaxing!

    11. Go People Watching

    Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops, and train stations are great for this!) and just observe[3].

    People are infinitely interesting. Try to imagine what their lives are like, what they’re thinking, or where they’re going. You’ll never know if you’re right, but it will give you something to focus on and also help you practice empathy.

    12. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

    You can try that new Moroccan restaurant down the street and pick the most interesting dish on the menu. Or, you can raid your own fridge and throw together a dish you’ve never made before.

    If you’re up for a trip to the grocery store, try picking up a new fruit or veggie from the produce section. You may find a new food that you love!

    13. Dance

    You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

    If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public or join a flash mob.

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    14. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

    Reading a good book can keep you occupied for hours. It will also transport you to a life that isn’t your own, and one that likely will be the opposite of a boring life. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn from those pages.

    Pick on of these inspirational books to start reading: 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

    15. Spend Some Time With People You Care About

    Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or bring a coffee over to your parent’s place and catch up. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll avoid boredom.

    16. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to

    Some people are bored by museums, so if that’s you, skip to the next one. However, if you love art, history, or culture, this one is for you!

    17. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

    This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

    Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then, start taking your first step to make it happen.

    Now, go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

    More on How to Quit a Boring Life

    Featured photo credit: Alex Alvarez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] FECAVA: Random Acts of Kindness
    [2] Applied Research in Quality of Life: Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday
    [3] Psychology Today: The Expert’s Guide to People Watching

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