Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Making Negative Self-Talk More Positive

If you’re like most people in recovery, you’re likely dealing with some negative chatter in your head. And it’s likely the worst when you’re alone or when you’re ruminating about something or when you face a challenge or setback in your recovery. Not all mind chatter is bad. It can motivate you to do better or move forward – like when your inner critic reminds you that what you’re about to drink or eat isn't healthy or what you’re about say or do may not be wise.

But negative self-talk can also pose a real hazard to your health, especially when it’s telling you that you’re not good enough or deserving enough. Any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make a positive change in your life can stunt your sobriety success.

Negative self-talk has been found to impact everything from your self-esteem to your energy to your mental health. It has also been linked to black-and-white thinking, perfectionism and depression – which can all be detrimental to your recovery.

How to Flip the Switch

It is possible to flip negative self-talk into positive thoughts – and you can start today. The next time that inner critic starts chattering, try asking yourself: Are these words helpful or encouraging? Am I being rational and reasonable? Is this something I’d say to my best friend? This is a great way to shift your self-talk and tame any negativity in your head.

Here are a few more ideas to try:
  • Recognize it. Now that you’re in recovery, you know too well that you can’t change a problem if you don’t recognize you have a problem. So, your first step is to pay attention to your inner critic. Take notice when you say things about yourself that you would never say to a friend or family member.
  • Remember feelings aren’t facts. Just because you’re thinking negatively about yourself, it doesn’t mean that those thoughts are true. Negative self-talk is subject to bias and it’s often influenced by your mood and/or challenges or setbacks you may be facing.
  • Give yourself a limit. Stopping your negative self-talk won’t happen overnight. Knowing this, it’s wise to put a limit on your inner critic. Allow yourself to be negative for no more than one hour per day.
  • Turn negativity into neutrality. It will likely be easier to catch your negative self-talk than to stop it in its tracks. This said, you can change its course by using gentler language. For example, “I can’t” becomes “This is challenging” or “I hate” becomes “It’s not my favorite” and so on.
  • Question your inner critic. Most often, self-talk is an exaggeration. Call yourself out and ask: Is this really true? Do I really believe this?
  • Say it out loud. Sometimes simply saying a negative thought aloud can help lessen its power and shine light on how ridiculous you sound. Other times, it can bring support. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, recovery peer or counselor about any of the negative thoughts standing in your way.
  • Replace it with something positive. This will take practice, by the next time you have a negative thought about yourself, replace it with something positive. This exercise is a great way to develop a more positive way of thinking about yourself and your new sober life.

A Positive Life With Deeper Purpose

At Haus Recovery, we help our clients stay confident as they master their full recovery potential. To learn more about our services and activities, call us today: 888-551-4715.