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10 Types of Negative Self-Talk (and How to Correct Them) | Nick Wignall

Mind Reading

It happens when we assume we understand what other people are thinking without any real evidence.

It is a failure of imagination because we often only imagine and focus on the negative aspects.

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10 Types of Negative Self-Talk (and How to Correct Them) | Nick Wignall

10 Types of Negative Self-Talk (and How to Correct Them) | Nick Wignall

https://nickwignall.com/negative-self-talk/

nickwignall.com

11

Key Ideas

Narrative Habits

The way we talk to ourselves about the events in our lives is subject to the same laws of learning and habit formation that physical behaviors are.

That means we can learn to talk to ourselves in specific ways just like we can learn to tie our shoes or say please and thank you.

Events + Thoughts = Emotions

Our emotions are always mediated by some form of thinking. 

If our thoughts determine how we feel, that means how we habitually think will determine how we habitually feel.

Mind Reading

It happens when we assume we understand what other people are thinking without any real evidence.

It is a failure of imagination because we often only imagine and focus on the negative aspects.

Overgeneralization

It is the habit of telling ourselves that a negative event is bound to continue happening in the future.

When we overgeneralize, we make predictions about the future based on isolated pieces of evidence from the present.

Magnification

It happens when we take our own errors or flaws and exaggerate them.

We take small negative events and turn them into disasters in our minds.

Minimization

it involves being dismissive of our strengths and positive qualities.

It keeps us in a cycle of feeling inferior because we never focus or enjoy our true positive qualities and accomplishments.

Emotional Reasoning

It is the habit of making decisions based on how we feel rather than what we value.

It's when we use our emotions and feelings as evidence for what we should or shouldn’t do. Depression and procrastination are common results of this.

Black and White Thinking

It is the tendency to evaluate things exclusively in terms of extreme categories.

It sets us up for chronic disappointment: When our expectations are consistently exaggerated, we never meet them and then always feel bad about ourselves.

Personalization

It involves assuming an exaggerated responsibility for things that are mostly or entirely outside our control.

And this leads to excessive attempts at control, which in turn leads to chronic stress and anxiety.

Labeling

It is the habit of describing ourselves or others in one extreme way, usually negatively. 

It is always an inaccurate oversimplification.

Change Your Negative Self-Talk

  • It can often be easier to identify examples of negative self-talk in other people first.
  • Change your (inner) tone of voice.
  • Validate your feelings instead of analyzing them.
  • Be intentional, not habitual, with your self-criticism. Schedule a time to reflect on a perceived mistake or flaw intentionally.

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"Needing" therapy

By framing therapy in terms of what we need rather than what we could benefit from, many people experience too much shame or embarrassment to try it.

Not everybody needs therapy. But ...

How therapy helps
  • Understanding how the way we tend to think about things affects our moods and emotions
  • Clarifying our values and strategizing about the most effective path toward them
  • Learning to communicate directly and assertively in relationships or the workplace
  • Building self-confidence in social situations
  • Acquiring more effective parenting skills and techniques
  • Working through complicated grief or loss
Therapy and growth

Ultimately, therapy is about growth and creating opportunities for positive change.

And in addition to improving traditional mental health struggles, therapy can also be a powerful and efficient way to make progress on personal goals or aspirations.

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Replace The Bad With Some Good

Take a negative thought and change it to something encouraging that's also accurate. Repeat until you find yourself needing to do it less and less often. 

Notice And Stop That Thought

Simply stopping negative thoughts in their tracks can be helpful. This is known as "thought-stopping" and can take the form of snapping a rubber band on your wrist, visualizing a stop sign, or simply changing to another thought when a negative train of thought enters your mind.

Say It Out Loud

Telling a trusted friend what you're thinking about can often lead to support or a good laugh when the negative self-talk is ridiculous. Even saying some negative self-talk phrases under your breath can remind you how unreasonable and unrealistic they sound, and remind you to give yourself a break.

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Consider Finding a Therapist

It’s important to know that if your negative thoughts are persistent — impacting your quality of life and functioning — it could be a sign of something more serious. Consult a therapist or psych...

Keep a Journal

Journaling can be great for getting stuff off your chest and to become more self-aware. Often, we are unaware of our negative thoughts and miss the chance of challenging them — but writing regularly can help with that.

You can create a two-column journal. In the first column, keep notes on any self-criticism that comes up throughout the day. Later, rewrite the first column in more empowering or positive ways to reframe it.

Learn How To Take a Step Back

If you’re beating yourself up over something, picture someone that you love in your shoes and think what would you say or do to support them. This allows you to take a step back and practice a little self-compassion, it can help to keep things in perspective.

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