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Transforming Negative Self-Talk

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Andrea Seydel Live Life Happy Unconventional Book Club Highlight

Transforming Negative Self-Talk Practical, Effective Exercises

Critical or disapproving internal chatter can affect our self-confidence, level of #anxiety and wreak havoc on our well-being. There are effective tools and practical strategies for managing negative self-talk and how to respond to it. Steve Andreas in his book, Transforming Negative Self-Talk, offers help so we can take charge of our lives and our minds. Since we can't abolish negative self-talk and at times it is meant to keep us safe, there are ways to gain control over those voices.

The What of Internal Self Talk: We all hear a voice inside our head, but sometimes we aren't listening to just exactly what that voice is saying and not noticing how it is affecting how we feel. Some voices might say, "I'm a loser." "I'll never be able to do that." "I'm so fat." "I'm so dumb." "What was I thinking?" Do any of these sound familiar? Internal self-talk is meant to keep us safe, orient us, review events, offer information and solve programs. Not all internal voices are helping us, but rather hindering us by affecting our mood, level of confidence and experience of the world. It is important to make changes in how we listen to this troublesome voice. We can take charge and gain control of the voices in our head! Try these tips from Steve Andreas.

Change The Location of Voice: Listen to your internal voice and separate yourself from the voice. Really listen for troublesome voices that are not serving you well. You can change "I am" to "You are" to create more distance and separation from the voice. Analyze the voice. Ask yourself, Who does this voice sound like? Who does this voice remind you of? You can then turn down the volume of that voice.

Talk to Yourself Positively: Take notice of when negative self-talk happens and try to pause, delete or cancel that thought. Change your thinking to be more positive. For example, instead of "I am board with my life" you can try "What can I enjoy right now?" You can feel the difference. Andreas talked about positive affirmations as a way to speak more positively to yourself, but warns they need to be realistic and avoid the words like ALWAYS, EVERY, NEVER. Affirmations are powerful, but they need to be real. Statements like, "I am happy all the time", simply are impossible. He encourages the reader to focus in the present moment and look for real pleasant moment things to be positive about. Gratitude and appreciation is a great tool to encourage positive internal dialogue.

Add a Resourceful and Supportive Voice: One of my favourite things to do to my negative self-talk is talk back to that thinking. Adding in a voice that offers support or disputes the critical voice. Arron Beck's research is all about taking your thinking to court and challenge your belief and story that you are telling yourself. This approach allows for a more realistic evaluation and can transform negative self-talk.

Shift your Perspective: Zoom out the lens and shift your perception. Look at the big picture instead of having tunnel vision. There is an expression that you can't read the label when you are in the jar. I love that Andreas suggests in his book to shift to a different perspective in order to transform negative self-talk. A new voice can help you gain a different more positive perspective. Ask yourself, How would your Mom see this situation? What would your mentor do about this? What would your best friend be saying to you? What would Tony Robbins say to you?

Shift Away from Generalizations/Evaluations/Presuppositions: Sometimes it it common to over generalize situations or evaluations of ourselves. We often jump to conclusions and presuppose events. In his book, Andreas suggests avoiding generalization as a tool for transforming negative self talk. Try to do the opposite and practice self acceptance. One tool I use with my clients that he also suggests, is to use the formula; Even though _____(add negative statement/generalization here)... I can ______(add your positive statement full of potential/opportunity here!

Ask Good Questions: Questions direct your attention. When I work with my clients I can literally take the conversation in a positive direction or a negative direction just from the type of questions that I ask. Read these next questions and notice how they make you think and feel. What went wrong? What bothers you about that? What would you love to see happen? What would be ideal? Notice the power in your questions.

It's amazing how much #power and control we have over the way we think and talk to ourselves. It is an ongoing effort and requires #energy and focus on your part. But the rewards of improved self-confidence, #positivity and well-being are well worth the effort!

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