Sometimes the saying is true — you are your own worst critic. Excessive self-criticism can lead you to focus on your failures instead of how you have improved over time, causing unnecessary stress and depression.
Here are eight strategies for combating negative self-talk:
1. Highlight your positive traits
Remind yourself of your best qualities by gazing into a mirror every day and saying aloud three things you like about yourself. After a few months, you’ll actually embrace all the positive aspects of your identity.
2. Understand your values
Take time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and dreams. This can help you be more content when you are unable to live up to others’ expectations. Your goals should be based on your own needs and wants instead of what friends, family, and coworkers expect from you.
3. Accept your flaws
Don’t expect to love your imperfections. Instead, the goal is to learn to accept your flaws, giving yourself some perspective and context to understand how your weaknesses developed.
4. Celebrate your accomplishments
Make a list of all your recent accomplishments, both big and small. This will help you realize that any perceived disappointments aren’t such a big deal.
5. Create a gratitude list
When you’re down on yourself, the world can seem grim. That’s where creating a gratitude list can help. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for and what is positive in your life, which can help you feel more optimistic.
Mindfulness meditation can help relieve stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. Managing your emotions by meditating can help you think more objectively about yourself.
7. Turn to a friend
In moments where you’re feeling embarrassed, disappointed, or frustrated, don’t be afraid to turn to a trusted friend for help, support, and guidance.
8. Name the facts
Instead of beating yourself up, reach for neutral thoughts about the situation and name facts. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m so incompetent at presentations,” say, “I’d like to learn how to better speak in public, and I will take a class to help me.” This gives you a lot more constructive choices and paves the way for self-improvement.
No one is perfect
Constant negativity is the worst thing for your mental health, especially when it comes to negative self-talk. It’s crucial to actively work on ways to end this unproductive inner dialogue, which include meditating, making lists, celebrating achievements, and drawing on support systems. Remember that literally, no one is perfect.
- “11 Ways to End Negative Self-Talk & Feel Better About Yourself,” Bustle, July 18, 2016.
- “9 Ways to Stop the Incredible Damage of Negative Self-Talk,” Reader’s Digest, n.d.
- “Negative Self-Talk: 9 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic,” Huffington Post, December 7, 2017