Now I don’t know about you, but I talk to myself all the time! Like, all … day … long! A constant stream of running dialogue from dawn till dusk. Internal conversations going on with ourselves in our minds, also called self-talk is completely normal.
For those of you who can relate, it’s time to get a grip on the nature of those inner conversations. Given the pressures of modern life, our internal dialogue can often become negative and critical.
For some, we can lose ourselves in self-reflection and end up with our inner critic detailing every wrong move, poor choice, and blunder. Now whilst it’s vital to observe our negative thoughts, it is easy to spiral into a pool of negative self-talk which can cause us to avoid introspection altogether.
However, all is not lost, because with practice we can flip the switch on negative self-talk and introduce a kinder approach which is healthy and healing.
If you find introspection to be hard and critical, here are some mind tricks for self-talk that will flip the switch to neutral or positive self-reflection.
Mind Trick #1. Talk to Yourself Like a Friend
You may have a heart of gold when it comes to your friends and you likely wouldn’t say mean, degrading or discouraging things to them if they were trying to make sense of their lives. Do the same for yourself. Talk to yourself like a friend. Be compassionate and encouraging as well as forgiving and thoughtful.
When your inner critic starts, disregard the thought and ask yourself “what would someone who loves me say?”
My top tip here is to think of the opposite thought, the positive one and loop that in your mind for a few minutes. For example, you have made a mistake at work, stop the chastising and repeat to yourself in your mind, “I am successful, I am always successful, I overcome obstacles easily”.
If you are able to nip the negative self-talk in the bud and replace with friendly self-talk every time the negative crops up, you will soon see drastic changes to your outlook.
Mind trick for Self-Talk #2. Cross Examine your Negativity
Your inner critic is a prosecutor. Their aim is to get you thinking badly about your past or your current situation so you feel guilty, shameful, and out of options. You’ve got to stand up for yourself and think like a lawyer. Cross examine your inner critic and be sure to point out the flaws in their thinking and argue against their condemnation.
When your inner critic starts condemning your behavior, remind them that failure is never permanent and there is always a new and better way to do things despite the past.
Trick #3. Practice your Come Backs
Have you ever been in a disagreement and thought of the prefect come back long after the fight was over? Didn’t you wish you had thought of the perfect thing to say in that moment? Many times we do the same thing with our negative self-talk.
In the moment, we succumb to the negativity and agree with our inner critic. Later when we feel better, well-rested, and have had something to eat, we realise things aren’t as bad as we thought. Hold onto the positive and encouraging thoughts and ideas you have and battle your inner critic with them the next time you self-reflect.
Jot your positive and encouraging thoughts down and read them when you are self-reflecting to deflate your inner critic and remind yourself of how great you are.
Our inner dialogue can be our best friend or worst enemy. Overcoming a negative critic in our heads can be tough, but with a few tricks you can disarm the critic and keep your introspection positive and solution-focused.
The key to success with these mind tricks for self-talk is practice. You have to rewire and flush out all that negativity you have installed and entertained for a long time.
In time you will master the art of positive self-talk and become your own best friend.