How to Stop Abusive & Negative Self-Talk

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Do you ever feel like you're your own worst enemy? "I'm not good enough. No one will ever love me. Why am I so ugly?" It's hard to believe that these are things that women say to themselves on a regular basis. The negative self-talk we hear inside our heads can be absolutely devastating and have serious consequences on our mental health, relationships with others and overall happiness.  Today we are going to share some tips with you on how to stop this negative and abusive self-talk for good!

1. Stop labeling yourself with negative words

Negative self-talk is self-abuse and should not be taken lightly. Labels are powerful words and can stick with you for a lifetime. If you label yourself as something negative, like "I'm not good enough" or "No one will ever love me," these thoughts have power over your subconscious mind and feed into the negative self-talk that is already taking hold of your brain.

2. Change your self-talk into a positive affirmation

Labeling yourself with positive words can have a powerful effect. If you tell yourself "I am strong" or "I am beautiful," the thoughts of self-love and acceptance will take root in your subconscious mind which will help to combat any negative thoughts that are trying to overtake you.

 

3. Recognize when you're having a negative self-talk episode

It's important to recognize when you're having a negative self-talk episode so that you can stop it in the moment. If you don't recognize it, then your thoughts will continue and grow into an all-out verbal assault of yourself. Negative episodes may occur at any time or for no reason at all!  These types of phrases decrease our overall happiness and keep us from feeling worthy as people. Recognizing these episodes means identifying them as quickly as possible and replacing them with words that help you to feel empowered instead.

4. Practice mindfulness

When you're feeling low about yourself, it can be easy to fall into negative self-talk.  Practicing mindfulness can help you to identify and stop negative thoughts. Take a few moments away from the situation to be mindful of your breathing, surroundings and what is happening in that moment. This can allow you to step back from the stressful or upsetting thought without being ruled by it.

 

5. Practice deep breathing

One of the best ways to counteract these negative thoughts is by practicing deep breathing. Deep breathing slows down your heart rate and helps you gain some control over a stressful situation. This can be done anywhere, anytime- even on public transportation!

 

6. Talk back to those negative thoughts, like a parent talking to a child

Talk back to those negative thoughts, like a parent would reprimanding an ill-behaved child.  It might feel strange at first but it can be helpful in stopping the cycle of abuse you put yourself through.  

If your inner voice feels more like an abuser than someone who loves you unconditionally, start by listening without reacting until the thought has finished its rant. Then tell yourself that you love yourself enough not to let this abusive person control how you feel about yourself any longer.  Then turn your focus on something else.

For more intense episodes, you can also say "STOP" out loud when that negative thought or feeling hits. This might sound silly at first but this is a great way to take back control of the conversation in your head and stop those thoughts before they get too overwhelming.

 

7. Practice self-compassion

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes sometimes. It's important to show yourself the compassion you would offer someone else in a similar situation.

We often think that self-criticism will help us improve, but this is simply not true. In reality, negative thoughts can lead to anxiety or depression which can have serious consequences for your mental health. It's also very difficult to improve when we're constantly beating ourselves up about our flaws and weaknesses!

Even if you don't feel like an achievement was good enough, remember that being able to acknowledge what has been done is always better than denying any progress at all. Think of every small accomplishment as one step further towards large goals!

 

8. Think about the consequences of your thoughts on your mental health

Every thought we have is a choice. You are in control of every moment and you get to decide which thoughts will occupy your mind-space, but it all starts with the first step - awareness.  Negative self-talk will only serve to make you feel worse about yourself.  It can lead you to behave in ways that are harmful to your mental health - like avoiding social situations because of fear or feeling worthless.  Don’t be your worst enemy, be your most spirited cheerleader!

9. Identify your patterns

If you can identify when the negative self-talk starts happening and then remind yourself not to accept it, over time these destructive habits will dissipate. The key is being able to recognize the patterns within yourself so that we know how best to react - which might be by talking back! Be firm and make it clear that you’re not accepting their comments. Don't engage with those thoughts or feelings, and don't give them any power. Turn your attention to what's going well in life instead of ruminating on things that are out of our control.

 

If your internal dialogue has been going on for awhile, it may take some time before these changes will be felt and experienced. It'll be worth it in the end!

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