Have you ever called yourself a name or thought you weren’t capable of something? Perhaps you often find yourself being cynical of situations or constantly focusing on what could go wrong.
Unfortunately, negative self-talk can keep you from happiness and may become so pervasive, it stops you from performing well in your everyday activities or accomplishing your goals.
The first step to silencing your inner critical voice is to be aware of its existence. What areas in your life do you constantly find yourself in doubt? What are you telling yourself that makes you feel that way? Identifying the negative self-talk—and where it’s coming from—helps you access what’s going on that started it in the first place.
Sometimes, you just need to have a conversation with the critical voice in your head. That’s where journaling comes in! Even if you do it for just 5 minutes a day or hours, writing down your thoughts goes a long way towards organizing them and even zeroing in on the root cause of why you’re so hard on yourself. Write down what you have to do, something you are looking forward to, or an aspiration you have in your life. Another especially useful writing tactic is to make a list of all the negative things you think about yourself or others and then following it with a list of all the things you like about yourself and what makes you feel grateful.
Photo: Aleksei Todosko via 123RF
Once you’ve identified the critical voice and what’s causing it, take steps to turn it around. One way to do that is to try something new. Whether it’s a hobby, a different exercise, or a bucket list item, stepping outside your comfort zone has the potential to make you feel accomplished and bring some excitement into your life. Start by identifying the new thing you want to try. Next, sit down and map out a way you can achieve it. Write it down, book the appointment (if it requires that), and build it into your schedule. Finally, go do it! The end result will very likely be self-pride and that self-empowerment you may have been missing.
Another therapeutic and relaxing way to kick out negativity is to meditate. Psychology Today reports that regular meditation can reset your happiness point and literally rewire your brain to be a more positive person. To begin, find a comfortable area and sit with your back straight up and close your eyes. Begin by taking deep cleansing breaths and try to clear your mind or focus on one thing, noting your thoughts as they pass by, but not dwelling in them. If you’re still unsure about what to do, Verywell Mind has a list of apps that provide guided meditations. Commit to meditating daily. It will get easier the more you practice, and the benefits will quickly become apparent to you.
Find a word, phrase, or quote that resonates with you, and start to say it aloud daily. These are your mantras, words that make you feel empowered and confident. For example, you might look at yourself in a mirror and say, “I am beautiful.” Doing this often enough is likely to have an impact on how you view yourself, and it can go a long way to silencing any inward criticisms.
Ultimately, that inner critical voice doesn’t have to be so debilitating. Taking the appropriate mental and physical steps towards quieting it can go a long way toward your overall well-being. You just have to take the first one.