Mastering Your Negative Self-Talk to Achieve Success
Many successful people reach their early achievements by pushing themselves hard and hold themselves to impossible standards. While this is a powerful secret to getting started, negative self-talk can also bring you down once you reach a level of success where confidence and ease in your position is key to moving further. Success is something that you build, but the words you speak to yourself inside your head can make it difficult to be happy, even when you are achieving success. Holding yourself to standards is good, but toxic thoughts can drag you down once you're on the right track.
Toxic thoughts are negative or destructive thoughts that happen in your brain without your say-so. You could be giving a presentation, exercising, even relaxing with friends when your brain starts sending messages that you're not good enough.. Maybe you suffer from bouts of low self-esteem, self-hatred, or obsession over past mistakes. Most often, negative self-talk keeps you from being happy even in your moments of greatest success.
Awareness is the First Step
The first and best way to handle toxic thoughts is to become aware of them. These thoughts can affect you most when you don't notice them. Insidious little insertions of low self-esteem or temptation are what turn your mind to unhealthy things over time. However, you can learn to "hear" these thoughts for what they are and resist them on purpose.
It can be hard to catch, at first, because these thoughts are sneaky. Pay attention to when you feel bad, then take a look at the thoughts you've just been thinking. Are they toxic? Do they line up with reality? Do they follow your personal patterns of bad thoughts and feeling bad? Those are your toxic thoughts.
Listen for negative self-talk (thinking bad things about yourself) and petulant/pouty/angry thoughts about others as well. Listen for discouraging thoughts and feelings and those that guide you toward bad behavior. These are your toxic thoughts. Identify them and start thinking of them as not being your normal healthy brain products.
View the Toxicity as External
Once you start to identify your toxic thoughts, try to work against them. Instead of feeling bad when you think bad things, get mad. Get defiant. Think of those negative thoughts as something coming from outside you, like bad vibes being sent your way by someone or something else. Then use your natural human desire not to be bossed around to fight off the negative thoughts like you'd fight an enemy.
Think about your toxic thoughts like a bully at school shouting insults across the pavement. Learn what your toxic thoughts tend to "say" and disregard them as you would schoolyard taunts. If your toxic thoughts tend to say "you can't face the day. everything's too hard, just stay in bed" hear that as an external challenge. Like an older sibling saying "I bet you can't", go out of your way to prove the toxic thoughts wrong.
If your toxic thoughts say that you can't succeed, they're just like a bully. You can face that bully in your own mind by recognizing the toxicity for what it is - working against you.
By viewing your toxic thoughts as external, you can separate them from your real healthy mental self. This gives you room to start building up the healthy part of you and defy those mental thoughts like someone else was trying to make you do or feel bad things.
Write It Down and Talk It Out
Toxic thoughts have a way of building up inside you when you don't deal with them. Sometimes, even successfully resisting and repressing your toxic thoughts can still lead to a kind of accumulated stress. If you feel like you're bottling up all your negativity and the pressure is rising, talk to someone. Talk to a close friend, write it in your journal to eliminate these barriers in your mental process.
Find a way to express the negative thoughts you've been having without acting on those thoughts. It can help to write down every negative thought you have to identify and codify them. It's easier to become aware of your negative thoughts if you write them down.
It's easier to deal with negative thoughts if you talk them out. Talk or write out how you feel, what you think, and how these things are truly separate from the person you want to be. Verbally express and separate yourself from the toxic thoughts. You're not expressing negativity, you're removing negativity from your psyche by acknowledging and releasing it.
Get Healthy Inside and Out
Often, toxic thoughts originate or are enhanced by a subtle feeling of discomfort. You may feel tense or anxious or fatigued all the time which influences your self-image and your internal thought process. Work on getting right with exercise, drinking plenty of water, and healthy meal choices. You can reduce those feelings of negativity by boosting feelings of energy, wellness, and internal balance. Good nutrition and physical activity will give you a physical sensation of lightness and energy. A better self-care routine can help you to feel empowered, comfortable, and more resistant to toxic thoughts about your physical status.
Distract Yourself from Focusing Inward
We also know that, sometimes, those toxic thoughts keep coming back no matter how healthy you're living and how aware you are of the toxicity. If every time your mind is idle, you start thinking bad things about yourself or down-talking your success, there's a solution. Don't be idle.
Distracting yourself and keeping busy are classic tactics to help those recovering from a negative state of mind. Whether there are matters in your past that bring you down or you simply learned how to talk and think from a negative perspective (like so many), an active lifestyle and hobbies in your free time can help direct your mental energy toward positive productivity instead of idle toxicity.
Keep yourself busy instead of idle. Focus on your work and run through your mental to-do list. Clean instead of just pacing. Exercise instead of dwelling. Pick up a productive hobby like building or puzzles. Take yourself out of the house with regular walks. Many people like to keep some kind of media like television shows or podcasts on in the background to take up that extra mental track that can fill with self-negativity in the silence.
Improve Your Self-Talk
Last but not least, learn to replace your toxic thoughts with positive words instead. It may feel a little cheesy at first, but practice talking to yourself positively inside your own mind - or challengingly if straight positivity doesn't work for you. Become your own movie best friend, whether you need a voice to gently counter the negativity, to tell you you're great, or to challenge you to beat your high score in spite of things like depression or past troubles. Tell yourself you can do it, warmly or challengingly, and you can drown out the toxic thoughts to allow yourself to succeed.
Achieving Success In Spite of Yourself
Many successful professionals and business leaders start their path with a private track of negative self-talk. It's how they initially push themselves onto the track of success, with a relentless unforgiving view of their own achievements. But once you are on that track, it's important to be able to relax and feel good about your achievements. By taking charge of your self-talk, you can redirect your pattern of toxic thoughts toward healthy ambition and satisfaction.
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