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Negative self-talk can have a detrimental impact on one’s confidence. Research from 2019 at Penn State University found that most worries do not actually materialize, with only 8.6% of worry predictions coming true. Neuropsychologist Judy Ho emphasizes in her TED Talk how negative self-talk can sabotage goals and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. To combat negative self-talk, it is essential to identify triggers, question your thoughts, and practice a balanced thought process.

Ho suggests pinpointing experiences that lead to self-criticism, such as work meetings or social gatherings. By recognizing patterns and triggers, individuals can begin to understand the underlying causes of their negative self-talk. It is important to question the validity of these thoughts, as thoughts are not always an accurate reflection of reality. By examining evidence that supports or contradicts negative thoughts, individuals can gain perspective and realize that their worries are often unfounded.

A more balanced thought process can be achieved by using the ‘Yes … but … ‘formula. This involves acknowledging a negative aspect while also recognizing a positive aspect. By reframing negative thoughts in this way, individuals can shift their mindset and focus on their accomplishments rather than shortcomings. Additionally, labeling thoughts as just that – thoughts – helps to create distance and prevent them from being automatically accepted as true.

To break the cycle of negative self-talk, it is crucial to challenge the stories we tell ourselves and focus on accomplishing goals. By being mindful of triggers, questioning the validity of thoughts, and practicing balanced thinking, individuals can overcome negative self-talk and build confidence. Taking steps to distance oneself from negative thoughts and reframing them in a more positive light can lead to a more optimistic and productive mindset.

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