The critical inner voice refers to a well-integrated pattern of destructive
thoughts toward our selves and others. The “voices” that make up this
internalized dialogue are at the root of much of our maladaptive behavior.
This internal enemy fosters inwardness, distrust, self-criticism, self-denial,
addictions and a retreat from goal-directed activities. The critical inner
voice effects every aspect of our lives: our self-esteem and confidence, our
personal and intimate relationships, and our performance and
accomplishments at school and work.
So, how can we topple the negativity bias? How can be kick negative thoughts to be curb? Here are few ways you can try :
- Throw Them Out – Here’s a simple way to halt negative thoughts. Write them down, Rip them up, and throw them in the garbage. The results? Researchers discovered that throwing out a negative thought literally helps discard the thought mentally. A co-author of the study, Richard Petty, said, “However you tag your thoughts, as trash or as worthy of protection, seems to make a difference in how you use those thoughts.”
- Distract Yourself (The Right Way) – Use a distraction to get your mind off your negative thought with one caveat: make sure you have a focused distraction. In other words, don’t just let your mind wander. Studies show it is better to have a concentrated distraction as a wandering mind may further lead to negative thoughts. Some suggestions are listen to music, take a walk, or write in a journal.
- Express Gratitude – Our memories are nor carved in stone. Research suggests memories of unpleasant experiences can become magnified in our mind which, in turn, leads to rumination and negative thinking. Fortunately, these studies also demonstrate that expressing gratitude makes us more likely to remember positive memories and can even transform neutral and negative memories into positive ones. Start a gratitude journal.
- Label Your Thoughts – Instead of saying “My life is not going anywhere”, try saying, “I’m having a thought that my life is not going anywhere”. Making this subtle (but conscious) shift creates a buffer between your thought and your emotional and behavioral reaction to it. In other words, you are training yourself to truly understand that you are not your thoughts. You can have a negative thought, but not necessarily an adverse reaction to it.
- Stop Trying – Wait, isn’t the point of this article to help eliminate negative thoughts? The truth is that we don’t need to be free from all negative thoughts. Negative thoughts and emotions are a natural part of the human condition. In fact, a healthy dose of negative thinking can sometimes be a catalyst for change. So, what do you do when the thought pops up?
In essence being able to overcome negative thinking is all about realizing that everyone has negative thoughts. Instead it’s how you deal with them and how you allow those thoughts to manifest themselves that really makes the difference.
Categories: Mental Health