Many of us struggle with negative self-talk—an inner critic that savagely sabotages us with doubts and harsh judgments. We’re our own worst enemy.
We think we’re struggling with the outer game but it’s actually the inner game that’s tripping us up.
“Happiness is an inside game, literally and neurochemically.” -Shirzad Chamine, executive and best-selling author
How to Stop Our Negative Self-Talk
There are many things we can do to hush the inner critic in our head.
1.Doing breath work: breathing deeply and intentionally (as in yoga, meditation, and “box breathing”). This will change our physical and mental state.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” - Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness
2. Noticing our thoughts more: observing the things that pop into our heads and spotting the negative patterns that reappear. It helps to label them (e.g., “I’m being overly critical again”) and let them go.
3. Practicing self-compassion: treating ourselves with understanding and warmth in difficult times and recognizing that we all make mistakes. With self-compassion, we can give ourselves grace, forgive ourselves, and move on.
4. Being curious about or fascinated with the issue we’re concerned about—a more positive frame.
5. Remaining open to new possibilities and alternate interpretations that don’t involve harsh self-judgment.
6. Focusing on what we can control, and not worrying about the rest. (Consider reciting the “serenity prayer.”)