Do you tend to be a perfectionist? Are you always looking for the next thing to achieve with no rest or end in sight? Do you feel like if these things don’t go “just right” that you will be either a failure or unworthy of the kind of life you see for yourself?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be struggling with an underlying tendency of negative self-talk.
Research has shown that patterns of negative self-talk can start in childhood and may become a shaping force in a person’s worldview. This habit starts as a maladaptive form of coping with traumas, failures, achievements, or other stimuli in a person’s life. Left unchecked, negative self-talk can result in self-sabotaging behaviors (e.g., addiction, eating disorders, chronic overspending, self-harm) and even suicidal thoughts in the most extreme situations. (Domar, Stress & Internal Self-Talk Course; Goldstein, Psych Central)
The solution is simple, though not as easy as it sounds. Changing your thought patterns from negative to positive. (Martin, Psych Central) This can be accomplished by creating positive beliefs about yourself, your goals, your accomplishments, your status of power as the controller of how you lead your own life, and surrounding yourself by other people and resources which reinforce such positive self-beliefs.
You can achieve this using any of the following methods (you’ll probably find that a combination of them is necessary – mix and match them until you find the right combination for you!):
- Set clear goals (more on this here)
- Make a vision board
- Use SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based
- Use Law of Attraction principles
- Read positive self-help materials (more on this here)
- Watch positive self-help materials
- Attend self-help seminars
- Write and review positive affirmations in a journal
- Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people (check out YouTube or Meetup for new, positive, encouraging personalities near you!)
- Develop positive beliefs integrated into symbols, mantras, and personal/spiritual rituals and reciting or using them daily
- Learn about smart business practices such as ergonomics, productivity, intentional team-building strategies, and industrial psychology
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Schema Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
- Other forms of talk therapy
- Plan out both morning and night routines that encourage self-care and self-love.
- Avoid emotionally-charged music (e.g., heavy metal, music that degrades people’s bodies or acts such as sex or glorifies harmful things like drugs, alcohol, robberies, gangsters). Instead choose music that resonates with you and still maintains a light, airy, and/or positive tone. You can find specific musical selections that fit these criteria here (coming soon).
**If you find any dead links, it’s because I’m still working on the articles for those links! Thank you for your patience as I build this resource!
Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.