Negative Thinking: How to Silence Your Inner Critic
Are you being bullied by your own inner critic? You know, the one who likes to point out all your faults and shoot holes in your confidence?
According to cartoonist and mental health advocate Chato Stewart, one of Sharecare’s Top 10 Influencers on Depression, that’s the worst kind of bully you can meet. “You can let negative comments or remarks from others roll off your back,” Stewart says. “But when the bullying is coming from inside you, it’s hard not to believe.”
Once you buy into it, all that self-talk can paralyze you. “It freezes you, and makes you blind to other possibilities,” Stewart says.
Here’s the good news: Unlike the misguided fellow in the cartoon, you don’t have to hide in a dark alley or hire a mobster to rub out your inner bad guy. Try these tips from Stewart and other Sharecare experts to send that inner bully packing:
- Recognize negative self-talk when it happens. You bungled a question in a job interview, and before you know it your inner bully is beating you up, reminding you how no one would ever hire you anyway. Time to put on the brakes before the self-talk snowballs. Try spinning the negative thought into a positive one the moment you notice it, suggests the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Or keep a journal, and for every negative thought you list, write a positive one to counteract it. Need more ideas? Try these tips from Dr. Oz.
- Remember that self-talk isn’t real. Thoughts may be powerful, but they’re still all in your head. “I take myself out of the situation,” says Stewart, when he hears his own inner bully start to rant. “I tell myself this self-talk isn’t real, that I’m better than this.” Here’s more advice on controlling your inner critic.
- Spread a little love. And this time, send it your way. “Accept and love who you are as a person, and recognize your good qualities,” Stewart says. “Write them down, put ’em on a board. Make a list of the good stuff you can do. Remind yourself, ‘I am worth more than what I’m telling myself.’” Here are more ways to change your thinking.
Now that you’ve learned how to tame your inner bully, it’s quiz time! What does the +6 in the cartoon mean? Find out here.
Do you have a trick for silencing your inner bully? Share it in the comments section below.
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