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Anxiety and Language: 4 Steps to Ditch Negative Self-Talk

Updated: Nov 26, 2023 Anxiety Negative Self-Talk Hypnotherpay Coaching Neil Dolan MSc

Language is the architecture of our minds. It is the builder of our psychological experiences. If we think and talk positive, we will feel good, motivated and optimistic. But if our thoughts and internal dialogue are grounded in anxiety and fear, this is how we feel. We will feel apprehensive and scared, we will behave anxiously, and we will reinforce and grow further anxieties because we are feeding and seeding it at its core. This leads to cognitive distortions in our perceptions and interpretations of experiences, whereby we develop a negatively biased view of ourselves and the world.

How to ditch your negative self-talk and feel better about being you.

Anxious people struggle to address negative self-talk because it is habitual, in that, it starts before conscious awareness. We only notice it when or after we have experienced it. Many people struggle with negative self-talk, especially if the habit is long standing and firmly entrenched.

4 Simple steps you need to know to ditch your negative self-talk.

1. Look for negative self-talk in other people’s speech.

In order to understand our cognitive distortions and negative self-talk statements, we first need to be able to identify them. However, because they occur almost spontaneously, it is often easier to spot and identify examples of negative self-talk in other people. Once you can spot negative self-talk in other people, via their speech statements, you can more easily and readily start to spot your own cognitive distortions and negative self-talk.

2. Change the tone of your inner voice

Most people will have experienced someone being sarcastic with them, and we all know that the way in which someone says something to us affects how we feel, just as much as what they said. The same thing applies to our inner speech and negative self-talk. Once you start to notice and identify your inner self-talk, try and pay close attention to the way you talk to yourself. Are you abrupt, judgemental, harsh and/or sarcastic with yourself? What would it be like if you were gentler, less judgmental, empathetic, and straightforward in the way you self-talked?

3. Be intentional, rather than habitual, with your self-criticism.

It’s perfectly natural to have self-criticism, it identifies our mistakes, and holds us accountable to a certain set of standards. However, we are much more likely to use this productively and accurately if our self-criticism is intentional and deliberate, rather then habitual. Rather than spontaneously passing judgement on yourself, plan time to reflect on a perceived mistake intentionally, maybe by talking it over with a trusted friend or writing it down. Use a nightly journal to process your day, focus on both the mistake and the positives, ‘What Went Well’, to have a balanced perspective, rather than a biased negative perspective of the day.

4. Stop over analysing your feelings

When we experience some emotions, we also experience discomfort and pain. Our brain reacts to this with an inner dialogue of self-talk about those feelings and what they mean, trying to make sense of the situation. Alternatively, try to be objective by simply observing and noticing these feelings. When we rush in and over analyse our feelings with self-talk, we are programming our brain to interpret these feelings as being problematic, causing further anxiety. Mindfulness is great resources for training your brain to be in the moment, taking note of what you're experiencing here and now, rather than over analysing and fuelling your negative self-talk. Mindfulness takes practice, but over time, it can decrease overthinking.

Hypnotherapy Treatment for Negative Self-talk

Unfortunately, most of our negative self-talk is subliminal and functions as a form of negative self-hypnosis self-talk. It is so ingrained in us that we hardly notice it anymore. When we fail to notice it and challenge it, we begin to believe it.

Hypnosis is an effective way to counter-act negative self-talk because it will enable you to confront your negative self-talk at its very roots, subconscious level, and create new ways of thinking and perceiving.

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