If you’re noticing that you’ve been having increased negative self-talk during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. The continued pandemic with no end in sight for many of us makes it difficult even for the best of us to stay positive.
Let’s take a look at why we have the negative self-talk, what it is and suggestions for how we can improve this mental chatter.
What is Negative Self-Talk?
Negative self-talk is inner dialogue we have within ourselves that may be limiting our ability to believe in ourselves and our own abilities, and to reach our potential.
It is any thought that diminishes our ability to make positive changes in our life or our confidence in ourselves to do so.
Unfortunately, there’s no switch to completely turn off our negative self-talk, but the most important thing we can do in these instances is to become aware of the thoughts and intentionally, choose healthier thoughts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are:
4 Types of Negative Self-Talk:
1. Personalizing: Personalizing is when …
“It’s not you, it’s me”
… becomes your mantra. If something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself.
Example: For instance: If you text your friend and they take longer than usual to reply, you start thinking to yourself “ they are probably mad at me” or “they clearly don’t want to be friends with me anymore.” When, in fact, they could just be having a very busy day.
2. Filtering: With filtering, you …
magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones.
Example: If you’re trying to save money and go over budget by $50 one month, you might get caught up on that instead of the fact that you still put $200 away in savings.
3. Catastrophizing: With catastrophizing, you …
automatically anticipate the worst.
Example: On the way to work, the train gets stopped underground and you immediately assume you’ll be stuck for hours.
4. Polarizing: With polarizing, you …
see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground. It’s the feeling that you have to be perfect or you’re a total failure.
Example: If you’ve been getting up early all week, and one morning you feel the need to get more sleep and you hit snooze—suddenly, you start labeling yourself as a lazy person.
So, why do we do we let this happen?
Probably because we ‘re busy with day to day living and we just accept it as who we are.
I’m here to remind you (and me) that we don’t have to live this way.
So for today, the next time you have negative self-talk, stop yourself.
And, instead “intentionally” find something positive about the situation.
Doing this repeatedly will help change the negative self-talk habit over time.
I use affirmations regularly to address my negative self-talk and, they have helped me retrain my brain to find the positive.
Check out How to Use Affirmations to Improve Your Life post to learn how affirmations can help with negative self-talk.
Remember, you are in charge of the thoughts in your mind.
Yes, it will require effort to change them and, yes, you’re worth the effort.
Take good care and, be safe.