How to switch up negative self-talk

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When your inner critic puts you down, stop, recognise it, and flip the statement with these tips

Negative self-talk is a trap that many of us can fall into. They’re the niggling comments that creep into our minds when we start to doubt ourselves, or get caught in a shame spiral. And over time they can rub away at our self-esteem, holding us back from achieving our goals and from living a happy and fulfilling life.

Often coming hand-in-hand with other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, getting to the root of the problem may involve reaching out and working with a mental health professional to help you understand this behaviour in more detail.

But, as is so often the case, the first step is to identify that you’re doing it. Pay attention to the way that you speak to yourself – would you speak this way to a friend? If not, challenge the negative self-talk when it arises. Ask yourself, is this actually true, what’s the evidence?

Here, we’re flipping common negative thoughts on their head, to help you stand up to unhelpful self-talk.

“I’m useless”

Change to: This may not be my strong point, but I have many skills.

“Everyone hates me”

Change to: I can’t control what others think, but I know there are people who care deeply about me

“I’m worthless”

Change to: I’m struggling right now, but I am still worthy of love and compassion.

“I’m an awful person”

Change to: Doing something bad doesn’t make me a bad person.

“I can’t do this. I give up”

Change to: This is difficult, but I can keep trying.

“This is impossible”

Change to: I’m facing a challenge, and I will try my best – that’s what matters.

“Nothing good ever happens to me”

Change to: I will get through this – it won’t last forever.

“I’m such an idiot”

Change to: I made a mistake, but it’s not the end of the world.

When we treat ourselves with the kindness and forgiveness that we deserve, we place ourselves in the best position to take on the obsticles that come our way. So next time you find yourself experiencing negative self-talk, don’t let it get away unchallenged.


Need support? Connect with a counsellor using counselling-directory.org.uk

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