Advertising
Advertising

How To Stop Negative Self-Talk Right Now

How To Stop Negative Self-Talk Right Now

Are you one of those people who, like me, sometimes (often) talk to themselves poorly? Saying things to yourself with that voice in your head that you would never consider saying to someone you cared about? But you say it to yourself. You berate yourself and, especially when you’re feeling challenged, recite a laundry list of reasons why you suck and will never be a success. I’ve been there. And done that. Still do it. But why…?

It’s because we hate ourselves. Kidding. The truth is, I really don’t know why we do it. Maybe it’s the need for certainty. Meaning, if we fail at whatever we’re pursuing, we don’t have to be disappointed because we already beat ourselves to the punch. Or maybe we don’t feel we’re deserving of being happy or having money or being desirable. Or maybe we do hate ourselves and just like to make sure we know it. I don’t know. Here’s what I do know…

Advertising

Being super critical of yourself is NEVER helpful. It only helps to make you feel the way you talk to yourself: Bad. Worthless. A failure. Fat. Dumb. Untalented. The list goes on… But how do we fix it?

Step 1: Notice It

It’s pretty easy to do actually. Whenever you might be feeling down or anxious, take note of the dialogue in your head. How are you talking to yourself? In a positive and loving way? Like you would talk to your best friend who was having a tough time? Or are you trash-talking yourself and adding fuel to the pain and shame fire?

Advertising

Step 2: Stop It

Stop it. Don’t do that. Stop talking badly at yourself and start talking to yourself as if you were cheering on your best friend. Treat yourself as your own best friend. Tell yourself how awesome you are. How hot. How fun and likable. How inspiring. Just fill up your mind with positivity and don’t allow any space for negative thoughts. Do that for as long as it takes to convince your mind to stop finding things to criticize. It will take a lot less time than you might think.

As simple as that: Positive Thinking

That’s two steps. It’s that simple. “But, Michael it’s NOT that simple.” Oh yes, it is. It’s a simple matter of choice and you have total control over it. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask Dr. Eric G. Potterat, Force Psychologist, Naval Special Warfare Command. Dr. Potterat has 20 years experience in the Navy. Much of that time was spent helping Navy SEALs with the extreme psychological demands of their training and missions. Dr. Potterat found that positive self-talk was a major determining factor of a SEAL’s performance. In fact, they found that those who talked to themselves in a positive way had a much greater chance of completing their basic training (which is arguably the toughest military training in the world). If this technique works under some of the most extreme and challenging conditions a human being can face, it can certainly work for any of us in our day-to-day lives.

Advertising

As a photographer, how does this help my clients on-camera? Quite simply: You will be FAR more attractive on-camera if you’re cheering yourself on while that lens is pointing at you rather than berating yourself. Do you think Kim Kardashian talks to herself in any other way other than awesome when she’s posting those selfies? HECK NO. And with 82.6 MILLION Instagram followers, she knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

The next time you catch yourself berating yourself, stop that, flip the script and speak to yourself as you would your best friend. You’ll thank yourself later.

Advertising

More by this author

How To Stop Negative Self-Talk Right Now The Secret to Attracting Anything You Want in Life

Trending in Brain

1 Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science 2 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life 3 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory 4 15 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Brain Power and Your Mood 5 How to Build Good Habits

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

Advertising

Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

Advertising

In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

Advertising

Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

Advertising

In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

Read Next