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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 September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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