Hot topic: Hit pause on negative self-talk

“Usually, negative self-talk is so automatic that it happens outside of conscious awareness” – LaToya Gaines.

 “I’m here to tell you it [putting yourself first] is essential to your well-being, to your fulfilment, to your happiness… all of it.” Mel Robbins 

 The relationship we have with ourselves is one of the most important (and longest) relationships we can have – and, no surprises, it can be one of the most challenging.

 Emma Goldstraw, Health & Movement Coach at Total Health, reflects on negative self-talk and how to overcome it.

When I started my personal development journey, delving into the various layers this encompasses, it became clear that what was and is holding me back is the relationship with myself. The way I have in the past (and sometimes still do) talk to myself is mean. It can be brutal at times, and it can stop me moving forwards. Does this resonate?

While eliminating negative thoughts may not be possible for most of us, there are tools we can use to manage them because being stuck in negative thought cycles are not helpful to anyone.

Next time you have a negative thought, can you take a moment and increase your awareness around the thought. Stop, breathe, taking a step back and say to yourself, “I am having the thought that….”, putting some distance between the negative thought and yourself. You can add to this by increasing that distance from self and say, “I notice I am having the thought that….”

If you are someone who constantly turns to the negative, could you try and soften yourself? Instead of feeling bad for only going to the gym for 20 mins today, you could reframe and say, “I’m happy that I made it to the gym today”. Reframe what you did do, then celebrate all those little wins – be your own cheerleader.

Do you continuously berate yourself? Could you stop, breathe and ask yourself, “Would I talk to a child or loved one like this?” If you wouldn’t say the words out loud to someone else, why allow that for yourself? None of us are perfect and getting rid of the idea of being perfect will allow you to start being kinder to yourself.

Are you someone who catastrophises everything, thinking the worst and going into fight or flight mode? Is this useful? Does the worst imagined scenario normally show itself? If you think of all those occasions that you’ve freaked out, on reflection could your energy been better directed. Would taking time, stepping back, counting to 10 have helped diffuse the situation? Next time give it a go and see if you can change your thought patterns.

Some other tools we can use to manage ourselves are keeping a sense of humour, reminding yourself that every day really is a gift, be in the moment and get out of your head. Stay healthy, move your body, laugh and surround yourself with good people.

Pick a tool and see if you can practise over the next week. It takes time to change a lifelong behaviour, keep at it and see if you can start improving the quality of your self talk. You are worth the effort.

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