If there is anything that can keep you from being productive and partaking in the abundance that life has to offer, it’s negative self-talk. This is the type of talk, and thoughts, that create or reinforce existing subconscious beliefs that will keep you from what you desire. If you want to enjoy life the way you should, you’ll need to learn how to stop this type of talk for good.
Do You Suffer From Negative Self-Talk?
If you have a tendency to believe that a tough situation is worse than what it is, it’s negative self-talk. If you’re wondering why you’re not enjoying the journey of your life, it’s negative self-talk. And if you find yourself more often in a state of unhappiness than happiness, it could very well be because of chronic negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk comes from relating your current situation with some past experience. If you’ve tried to succeed at something and haven’t been able to shake off past failures, or have been afraid of being unable to match the previous levels of success you’ve achieved, you’ve got to change your thought process.
Related: 7 Benefits of Positive Thinking
Self-Awareness is the First Step
The good news is, if you can recognize your self-talk for what it really is—nothing more than unnecessary baggage from your past that you carry into the present by way of your own thinking—then you can choose to gradually shift your way of thinking to create thoughts, words, and beliefs that will make you feel better and put you in a better position to achieve success.
The thing to understand about negative self-talk is that it reflects your internalized negative feelings about yourself rather than the truth. In other words, just because you feel it doesn’t make it true.
Your subconscious mind does not distinguish between true or false. It doesn’t make judgments or have the ability to have an opinion. It simply takes what is believed to be true– in the case of self-talk this would be doubt and fear—and it makes it feel real. In turn, this “truth” is compounded and reinforced and solidifies your belief and you will receive a negative result.
How to Stop Negative Self-Talk
Fortunately, you can prevent yourself from getting caught up in this negative thinking. It helps that in the morning you allow your first thoughts to be positive and if a negative thought slips in that you recognize it before it snowballs out of control. That one negative thought can take an otherwise promising day and blow it to pieces.
It’s normal to have negative thoughts every now and but once you realize what’s going on, focus on positive thoughts to drown out the negative. Eventually, your mood will follow and you’ll be able to get back on track.
Researchers say we have more than 60,000 thoughts per day so being present to monitor these thoughts is a daunting task. So rather than trying to master your thoughts try this simple practice: view your feelings as an emotional warning system. When you’re feeling good you must be having good thoughts, and when you’re feeling bad you must be having bad thoughts. Simple.
So when you’re feeling lousy, ask yourself what bad feelings am I having? At that point you can change your thoughts. And when you change your thoughts, you change the way you feel, and only then can you change your life experience.
Related: The Power of Positive Thinking
The bottom line is this: the power of your thoughts and beliefs are immense. They can lift you up and take you to the highest highs or drag you down to the lowest lows. The greatest leaders and most famous entertainers and athletes exercise healthy habits of thinking that springboard them into a fulfilling and prosperous life, and so can you!
Steve Rizzo is a personal development expert and author of Get Your SHIFT Together: How to Think, Laugh, and Enjoy Your Way to Success in Business and in Life. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, and the Oprah and Friends Radio Network, as well as his own PBS special, “Becoming a Humor Being.” Prior to his speaking career, Steve was a headline standup comedian, sharing the stage with comic greats, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Murphy, and Rodney Dangerfield, among others.
Featured photo by Alex E. Proimos
Originally published 3/11/2013 and updated 4/10/14.