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gailcalled's avatar

What do you mean. Your inner voices are saying mean things about you? If so, direct them to me. I will sort them out with no trouble.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I ask myself if I would talk to my loved ones that way. It doesn’t always work, but it certainly helps to put my thoughts into perspective a little bit.

Mama_Cakes's avatar


Thinking: I need to get this done.

Followed by, 10 minutes later of procrastination: it is not going to work out for me, anyway, so why bother?

gailcalled's avatar

Followed by: So I won’t do this right now. It’s ok, Self. Maybe that was an unnecessary chore or task.

Have you ever found a “to-do” list from ten years ago? Did any of them really matter?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Do don’t find that “to-do” lists work?

gailcalled's avatar

I’m not sure what you are asking me. I thought that they worked ten years ago, but I can’t remember why everything on them was so fraught

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Oh, I see.

ninjacolin's avatar

try something like: “I’m breaking the habit of negative self-talk. On my journey, negativity will sometimes manifest despite my best efforts and that’s okay. It is to be expected.”

ninjacolin's avatar

focus on positive self-talk though. get in the habit of positive self-talk.

Nullo's avatar

You might try bloody-mindedness.

Mr_Saturn512's avatar

Classical music and yoga. And the occasional punching bag.

Shippy's avatar

I have so much of it going on that its almost a project right now. I think for me, it is being aware first of all, that I am having a negative train of thoughts. Also I run what I call “movies”. I used to think these movies were a great way to prepare myself for an event. Take the dentist for example. I’d run a good half hour movie with repeats right up until the actual dentist. But you know, when they are all horror movies, its time to say, hey thats a movie! It hasnt happend, it may never happen. So now I realise too I over think, less thinking. I keep busy, I keep occupied, i answer questions here, I chat to friends, I am not thinking so much. But also before I go to sleep at night, I think of all the great things that are going to happen to me and I fall asleep.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

My partner just recommended “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”. I now have it on Kindle.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

For years, I’ve practiced turning around every negative thought I have to a positive one, even if I don’t believe it. If that little voice in my head is saying “it won’t work,” I turn it around and say “here’s how it will work.”

As for ending procrastination, that’s harder. I don’t make to do lists. I think of tasks in steps. I break things down into very small pieces. It seems to be more manageable and workable for me.

Paradox25's avatar

Personally I think it is not only a waste of time, but actually futile to try to ‘fool’ yourself into thinking that something is alright, or that you’re happy when you’re really not. Negative self talk comes with a reason, and as a result I try to figure out why I’m bringing up the negative points to begin with. Basically I try to fight negative thoughts by evaluating myself, my likes, my wants, my needs, my preferences, etc and determining what my strong and weak points are, and how I’ll react to the situations in front of me.

Sometimes it is other people’s fault why we feel low or have bad things happen to us, so the key is not to blame ourselves for everything. The key is to be honest, and admit it when you are in the wrong yourself. However there are times when a bad situation isn’t your fault, and it is during these times (and more than ever) that we need to stop blaming ourselves. I’m not great at doing all of this myself, but it is something.

Bellatrix's avatar

If you find a definitive answer to this question – please share.

For me, and I do get where you are coming from right now, I break the things I am trying to do into small chunks, set deadlines and then work towards them. When that voice starts screaming “you can’t manage this” I go back to my list and look at what I have got through and also give myself permission to not achieve some of the things on that list. Does it quell the voices? To a point – not entirely though – we may have to share notes on how to make them bugger off entirely.

Sunny2's avatar

I tell myself to shut up! or, as Jack Benny used to say, “Now cut that out!” If you can still hear his voice, you’re as old as I am.

filmfann's avatar

While driving in the car, it isn’t unusual for me to think about painful memories. Usually, I would just blurt out “fuck you” to the people in the memory, which may include me if I did something stupid.
Recently, I began to realize how self-destructive this is (and I already have self-hate issues), so instead of swearing I am now saying “I forgive you”. It has really improved my mood.

Bill1939's avatar

And I thought only I did dumb stuff like that. I feel a rush of anger/guilt, then take a deep breath and try to think of anything unrelated to what I just re-experienced. Maybe reflections upon some of the less desirable moments in our lives is par for the course that has run three score and more? (And yes, @Sunny2, I do hear Benny’s voice.)

gailcalled's avatar

I have finally laid what I call the interior monologues to rest. It took years of therapy.

Mariah's avatar

I have learned about myself that it crops up when I am understimulated. During summers, mostly, when I’m sitting around making nothing of my life and feeling my lowest about myself. I haven’t learned very well how to deal with it during those times, but I have learned that getting busy again solves it pretty damn well. Life starts progressing again, I make an active effort to kick ass, I occasionally succeed at kicking ass, and then I feel awesome about myself.

In short, making progress is the biggest deflector, for me. It would probably be productive to learn to deal with it better when the external situation doesn’t lend itself to deflecting it, though.

gondwanalon's avatar

I tell myself to “Cut the crap and get back to work!”

marinelife's avatar

I strongly recommend the book Self-Parenting for help with this problem.

Earthgirl's avatar

I think much of negative self talk stems from Cognitive Distortions. I try to catch myself when I do it and counter the thought with a more positive one.
From the above source:
“All-or-nothing thinking (splitting) – Conception in absolute terms, like “always”, “every”, “never”, and “there is no alternative”. (See also “false dilemma” or “false dichotomy”.)
Overgeneralization – Extrapolating limited experiences and evidence to broad generalizations. (See also faulty generalization and misleading vividness.)
Magical thinking – Expectation of certain outcomes based on performance of unrelated acts or utterances. (See also wishful thinking.)
Mental filter – Inability to view positive or negative features of an experience, for example, noticing only a tiny imperfection in a piece of otherwise useful clothing.
Disqualifying the positive – Discounting positive experiences for arbitrary, ad hoc reasons.
Jumping to conclusions – Reaching conclusions (usually negative) from little (if any) evidence. Two specific subtypes are also identified:
Mind reading – Sense of access to special knowledge of the intentions or thoughts of others.
Fortune telling – Inflexible expectations for how things will turn out before they happen.
Magnification and minimization – Magnifying or minimizing a memory or situation such that they no longer correspond to objective reality. This is common enough in the normal population to popularize idioms such as “make a mountain out of a molehill.” In depressed clients, often the positive characteristics of other people are exaggerated and negative characteristics are understated. There is one subtype of magnification:
Catastrophizing – Inability to foresee anything other than the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or experiencing a situation as unbearable or impossible when it is just uncomfortable.
Emotional reasoning – Experiencing reality as a reflection of emotions, e.g. “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
Should statements – Patterns of thought which imply the way things “should” or “ought” to be rather than the actual situation the person is faced with, or having rigid rules which the person believes will “always apply” no matter what the circumstances are. Albert Ellis termed this “Musturbation”.
Labeling and mislabeling – Limited thinking about behaviors or events due to reliance on names; related to overgeneralization. Rather than describing the specific behavior, the person assigns a label to someone or himself that implies absolute and unalterable terms. Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
Personalization – Attribution of personal responsibility (or causal role or blame) for events over which a person has no control.”

Knowing these things are destructive to me and affect my moods has helped me tremendously.

snapdragon24's avatar

Best thing to do is replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk…think about what you are good at and what you do like about yourself and the things you have accomplished in life. That should boost your confidence and make you believe that you can accomplish your next task.

susanc's avatar

My solution is really simple. I paint one fingernail and leave the rest of them alone. (If I were in the habit of painting all my fingernails, I would paint this one a different color.) Whenever I see that fingernail or whenever I find that I’m scared and running icky messages and intentionally look at the fingernail, I remember what I told it to stand for:
“No one can hurt you”.
The fact that this is not true doesn’t matter.
It’s self-talk of the simplest kind, designed for the infant mind. I find it insanely reassuring. It settles me right down.
Your own anchoring mantra could be something equally designed to sound like a stupid but utterly confident parent who loves you more than life itself. And, in the way of all great loves, it should be magical rather than sensible. Sensible is stupid and useless because it goes to the rational part of the mind. What you need is something that cuts through that rational bullshit and goes directly to the feel-better center. Enjoy!

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