During my morning routine this morning I listened to a podcast that talked about self-talk. In the podcast, the speaker talked about how negative self-talk damages who we are and how we approach the world- while positive, loving self-talk does quite the opposite.
We are creatures of beautiful design- carefully and wonderfully made. We are worthy, and we are more than enough. We are human, and we are subject to mistakes- but we are capable of redemption, mercy, grace, love, and strength. We are loved, and we are fought for, and we have been declared worthy. There is glory in our midst.
I am a culprit of negative self-talk. I say horrible things to myself- sometimes those thoughts are just in my head, and sometimes I utter them aloud. No matter how I talk to myself… the damage is done.
I have been working at fighting negative self-talk this year. Instead of a weight goal or something similar for a resolution- I decided to resolve to not talk down to myself. Why am I bringing up my new year’s resolution now in March? Because I think new year’s resolutions are overrated… and bring to much pressure that first month of the year.
Resolving to be better and do better in March, though, feels like so much less pressure to me. It’s not about the year marked on your calendar- it’s about you and your happiness.
The benefits I have reaped from focusing on positive and compassionate self-talk have been profound- even in the short amount of time of only a few months. I can feel the effects instantly when I let myself slip back into those negative thoughts. It takes an effort to start undoing habits of negative self-talk- but here is what I have found helpful.
5 Ways to Combat Negative Self-Talk
So let’s start with this- I was raised in a spiritually vibrant and healthy house. My faith has played a huge part in my life and still does to this day. I believe in God and the redemptive restoration that happens in the soul when focused on Christ and a relationship with Him. So a lot of the actions I have taken reflect my spirituality and relationship with Christ heavily- but I think many of them can apply even if you do not.
1. Care for your physical body
Life is about balance. Your mood is affected by the food you ingest and the physical activity that you do and the amount of sleep you enjoy. This weekend I forgot about the time change and didn’t get enough sleep that I know my body needs… and as a result, I woke up achy with a headache. The physical pain ate away at my resolve, and I slipped into negative self-talk.
So I have learned through a lot of trial and error that a quick workout (or some physical activity) every day, a lot of vegetables in my diet and not very much sugar, and at least eight hours of sleep puts me in my healthiest state of mind.
2. Examine and fine tune your media outlets
I keep hearing this sentiment a lot lately. I’m specifically talking about social media (but television, movies, music, and everything in between also add to this). Does Facebook leave you feeling agitated? Does Instagram leave you feeling unworthy? Do certain blogs leave you feeling less-than? This is where a real struggle came for me.
There is nothing inherently wrong with social media I was noticing comparing myself to everyone around me as I spent more and more time aimlessly on social media. I had to remove the Facebook app from my phone and clean out the people I followed on Instagram (still actively use Instagram).
3. Meditate and pray through the emotions
I slip into negative self-talk faster when I am dealing extra stress and worry. I found that getting those heavy emotions out of my head clears up a lot of room for healthy positivity.
I write out my prayers in a notebook- and I try to pray and meditate through everything daily. The daily process of writing out my thoughts, hopes, worries, and frustrations keeps everything from getting backed up. The more I release all the thoughts in my head in a quiet and contemplative way- the less I turn all the stress and worry and frustration on myself.
4. Leave yourself positive reminders
Sometimes I need backup when I’m feeling particularly depressed or stressed- so I have found that leaving behind notes for myself to be super helpful (as corny as it sounds). When I stumble across a verse or helpful thought- I’ve been writing them down and leaving them in different places.
I have a ton of sticky notes all over my work notebook. I keep a positive and empowering verse as the background of my phone (right now the one on my phone is the one I’ve included here for you to download today :D ).
5. Be gentle with yourself
I have years of practice at negative self-talk… unfortunately. It is a natural and automatic response in me now. It will take some time to change habits that are strong. When I slip up- when you slip up and catch yourself in negative self-talk, don’t be hard on yourself. It only throws you into a loop to you beat yourself up over catching yourself in negative self-talk. You know what I mean? :)
I hope that you figure out the right mixture of balance and encouragement to help stop the pattern of negative self-talk in your life. Personally- I think there is nothing more powerful and there is nothing more life changing then changing the way you talk about yourself and the way you talk to yourself.
Please feel free to download this free phone wallpaper as a reminder for yourself. This verse has been very powerful for me in my journey… the journey of life (corny much? sorry). Seriously, though, the Lord goes out before me. The Lord goes out before you like a wall of fire. He is the glory amongst you. He is your glory because He deems you worthy and marks you with His redemption.
This wallpaper is free for your personal use. Please feel free to share it, all I ask is that you link back to this page. It is not available for sale. Thanks!