Yesterday we talked mostly about dealing with negative self-talk by replacing it with more positive self-talk and how you can use it to boost your confidence, learn new things, and achieve your goals. But what if you can’t shut up the negative voice in your head? It doesn’t matter how much positive self-talk you use, it’s that one niggly negative Nellie that can derail your best efforts if you don’t turn it into something positive.
Here are four conscious things you can do to help quiet the negative self-talk so that you can get on with being the confident, courageous you that you’re meant to be.
Pay attention to your thoughts
Too many times we don’t pay attention to what we’re thinking, and this is when the negative thoughts can take over. This is why it’s important to always be watching for negative self-talk.
You can’t take control of it unless you notice it’s there. Start paying attention to your self-talk and noticing the negative thoughts so you can do something with them before they start to grow on you.
Name your negative voice
Giving your negative voice a name and a personality can help you deal more easily with it. I call mine ‘Nellie’ as you’ve no doubt noticed. When you do this, it takes a lot of the power and influence away from it because you can discount it and dismiss it as not worth paying attention too.
For example, whenever you catch yourself you can say something like “Geez Nellie, give it a rest already,” and immediately switch your thoughts to something more positive.
Put things into perspective
Everything gets worse the longer we dwell on it. It’s why we tend to think worse about ourselves when we do something stupid or embarrassing, and we laugh it off when someone else does it.
It’s important to put the conversation in your head into perspective and realize that yes, you did something stupid, but it’s not really a big deal. Instead of blowing up the negative, replaying it over and over, and thinking that you ruined your relationship or career because of one little blunder or embarrassing moment, bring it down to what it really was… you said something stupid, or spilled coffee all over yourself in front of someone important (that’s about my speed, just in case you’re inclined to think it only happens to you).
Here are some ideas for putting things into perspective:
- Imagine if this happened to someone else… would you think it was a big deal?
- Look around you. Are people laughing or looking outraged? If you don’t get a huge reaction, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
- Talk it through with a good friend. They’ll help you put it into perspective.
- Put a positive or at least neutral spin on it. At least you were memorable or no one will think about this next week.
Do the rubber band thing
Sometimes it takes a little work to notice your negative self-talk. One way to get yourself to pay attention is to us a rubber band on your wrist, and give it a snap every time you catch yourself in a negative thought. It doesn’t take long for you to get tired of snapping yourself, or explaining to people what the rubber band is for.
If you really don’t want to wear a rubber band around your wrist, you can do the same thing with a bead bracelet. I wear one made of amethyst beads when I’m trying to change a habit, and every time I catch myself in the habit I change the bracelet to the other side. It’s a lot less painful than snapping yourself with an elastic.
The important thing to remember is that you want to catch yourself before the negative self-talk does any damage and either dismiss it, or turn it around by replacing it with a more positive thought. By doing so, you’ll be boosting your confidence instead of letting harmful thoughts erode it.
And now for a little something extra....
I'm a musician, and there's always a soundtrack playing in my head. So it's almost a given that when I wrote the words "the rubber band thing" that a song would start playing in my head. Here it is... it'll get stuck in your head too. You're welcome. :0)