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The Dangers of Negative Self-Talk and Tips for Combating It

Self-talk can take on many different forms. It’s the little inner voice that you hear, and it can be good in certain instances. For example, self-talk can motivate you to reach your goals and make healthy choices. But it can also be negative and condescending. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk away from your inner voice. It’s always with you. 

While everybody has a critical inner voice at times, people in recovery are often hit hardest. When you’re actively using drugs and alcohol, your life revolves around these substances. This means that your thinking is consumed by them as well. Even when you get sober, your mind may still think like an addict, putting you in danger of relapse. 

The best way to combat negative self-talk is by being more positive about your life and your future. But how can you do this when your inner voice keeps telling you otherwise? Below are the dangers of negative self-talk and tips for stopping it in its tracks. 

Consequences of Negative Self-Talk 

Negative self-talk can affect you in more than one way. Here are some consequences to negative thinking. 

  • Limited thinking. The more you tell yourself you can’t do something, the more you’ll believe it. This can prevent you from reaching your full potential. 
  • Perfectionism. No one is perfect. If you’re always striving for perfection, you can end up more stressed and less happy with yourself. People who obsess over perfection tend to pick themselves apart and focus on what could have been better. 
  • Depression. Some research shows that negative thinking can lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Without professional intervention, this can turn into clinical depression. 
  • Relationship problems. Self-criticism can make you insecure and needy, causing you to have problems in your relationships. 

Tips for Combating Negative Thinking 

It is possible to stop negative thinking, even in recovery. This is one tool you’ll be glad to learn because it will help you throughout the rest of your life. You can’t control every outcome, but you can control your reactions. Let’s explore some of the best ways to stop self-criticism. 

  • Develop awareness. Through counseling, you can become more aware of your thinking patterns and how they impact your mood and behaviors. To help you grow this awareness, you can write in a journal or self-reflect.
  • Challenge your thinking patterns. When your inner voice is being critical, challenge these thoughts and bring yourself back to reality. Chances are, your inner voice is built on negativity, false assumptions and irrational beliefs. Then state positive affirmations - “I am doing my best and that’s enough.” 
  • Practice gratitude. Focus on the blessings in your life. Everyone has something to be grateful for. If you can get out of bed in the mornings and walk around, you’re already in a better position than some. Set aside a few minutes every day to be thankful. 
  • Shift your perspective. Changing your perspective can also help you be more positive. Take a step back and look at things objectively. Is what you’re worrying about really a problem? Will it affect you tomorrow? The next day? Oftentimes, our worries are not as big as they seem. 

Start Your Recovery - and Stop Negative Self-Talk 

Negative self-talk happens to everyone, but it can be debilitating when you’re new to recovery and still trying to figure things out. If you don’t learn how to tame this critical inner voice, it can increase your risk for relapse. Awakenings Treatment Center offers different types of therapy that can help you work through your feelings, contain your negativity and change this negativity to neutrality. Contact us today to start or continue your journey.