self-talk in mirror

5 Common Types of Negative Self-Talk to Stop Right Now

When you enter drug rehab (Awakenings Treatment Center offers outpatient drug rehab in Agoura Hills, California), one of the topics you’ll address in therapy is “negative self-talk.” There are many types of negative thinking, and some are downright brutal. While some negative self-talk is normal, too much can keep you trapped, sink your mood, and convince yourself that you’re helpless. These are certainly NOT things you want impacting your recovery! 

The first step in stopping negative self-talk is to recognize it in the first place! Below are some of the most common forms of negative thinking. If you engage in this type of self-talk, change your thinking to be more positive and hopeful. 

1. Filtering 

With filtering, you magnify the negative aspects of a situation and ignore the good ones. Let’s say you gave a presentation at work, and it went well. You delivered a great speech, your slideshow went smoothly, and your message was well received. 

However, when you get home, you focus on what went wrong with the presentation and forget everything that went well. You give all your attention to the negatives. To combat filtering, turn your attention to the positives. Don’t let your mind wander to the negatives. 

2. Catastrophizing

If you engage in catastrophizing, it means you turn everything into a major catastrophe in your head. You get stuck behind a truck on your way to work – the whole day will be terrible. You have one bad date – you’ll never find true love. 

To work on this type of thinking, let your fears play out. You’ll likely see that even if the bad thing did happen, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. For instance, if you lost your job, would you be without work forever? No, you would find another job. 

3. Mind Reading 

This is a common habit, and it does more harm than good. It occurs when you assume you know someone else’s thoughts. Mind reading is more common in self-conscious individuals, as they feel that other people are judging them. But in reality, we never know what other people think. 

When you engage in mind reading, you’re most likely projecting your thoughts onto the other person. To stop this type of negative thinking, remind yourself that you are not a psychic. It’s impossible to know what is going on in someone else’s head. 

4. Personalizing/Blaming 

Personalizing is when you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong. The movie you went to see is boring – it’s your fault. Your friends didn’t care for the restaurant you dined at – it’s your fault. Obviously, you have nothing to do with the outcome of these situations, but you take the blame. 

Blaming is the opposite of personalizing – you won’t accept any responsibility for your choices or actions. Instead, you blame others. When you do this, it hurts your relationships and prevents you from growing. To work on these, focus on taking responsibility for your actions only and learning from your mistakes.

5. Should Statements 

Should-thinking makes you feel you don’t have choices – that everything is obligatory. For example, “I’d like to eat healthier” vs. “I should eat healthier.” If you engage in should-talk, reframe your thoughts into things you want to do. “I want to eat healthier, so that I can feel better and lose weight.” 

As you can see, negative self-talk comes in many forms. Many times, this talk happens automatically in your head, which makes it difficult to stop. But the more you listen to this voice, the stronger it gets. Recognize negative self-talk so that you can challenge it and change it to something more positive. 

We talk a lot about negative thinking in therapy at Awakenings Treatment Center. To learn more about our outpatient drug rehab in Agoura Hills and how it can support your recovery goals, contact our admissions team today.