Modest self-doubt is normal when you’re analyzing your past or thinking about the future. But it’s easy to give in to negative chatter in your head and get lost in a mental house of mirrors. There’s no cognitive off switch for brooding, but a little internal coaching can help quiet this voice.
Start by recognizing negative thoughts and ask yourself—is this useful? Or is it not useful? Recognize that negative talk is unhelpful. Bring your focus back to self-compassion—let go of the judgments you hold about yourself, your body, and your moods.
Whenever your mind squawks, hone in and try to identify the exact emotion you’re experiencing. Ask yourself, “What’s at the core of what’s going on here?” Instead of using a broad label like “worry” or “stress,” drill down deeper into those feelings. Are you feeling vulnerable, or are you anxious about an outcome?
Reassess those pesky thoughts that play on a loop in your mind. Catch yourself embracing insistent expressions such as “always,” “never,” and “forever.” The more you attend to such notions about yourself, the more you believe in them, regardless of whether they’re true. Before you go into a negative spin, ask yourself if you really are failing at everything and if you’re always too busy to find time for your loved ones.
Idea for Impact: Rewrite Your Negative Self-Talk Script
If dwelling on critical moments is dragging you down, it’s time to take action. Rather than fault yourself for the swirl of thoughts, tell yourself you’re troubleshooting, planning, and preparing. Get on with the things you want to do. The momentum of positive emotions builds up as soon as you take action. If dwelling on critical moments is dragging you down, it’s time to take action
[Re-scripting your self-talk (“I can rehearse this presentation and ask a friend for feedback”) can help you prepare for any challenges and stop worrying about them incessantly.