Checking in to Check Out of Negative Self-Talk

Are you able to recognise when you are acting out of fear? Can you identify when your mind begins the loop of negative and critical thinking? Maybe it’s not even a thought, but the little sinking feeling of shame in your chest that you get when you remember “Oh yeah I’m not good enough.” Sometimes we are so caught up, we actually think we can predict the future! (and spoiler alert: it’s not going to be good!)

Thoughts like:

“It’s too hard. I can’t do it”

“I’m not smart enough. I don’t know how to do it”

“I’m not resilient enough. I could start but I know I won’t finish it.”

“What is X going to think about Y”

“If I try, I’ll probably fail and embarrass myself”

Replaying conversations, worrying and fear can be a real trap – it’s easy to get sucked into and the more you play into it, the louder it becomes. Feed it and it will grow.

These days, when I feel flat and the doubts begin, I cut them off. Before I begin to entertain negative self-talk, gloom or anxiety, I take a minute to evaluate what I have (or haven’t been doing) that could be affecting my mental state.

Here’s some of the things I ask myself:

  • Have I taken my magnesium and herbs today?

  • Have I been journaling? Is my mind clogged up with unprocessed thoughts and issues?

  • When was the last time I exercised and REALLY got my heart rate up? Until I was SWEATY…

  • Have I eaten properly today? Have I had too much sugar or caffeine?

  • When was the last time I did something for fun that brought me JOY?

  • When was the last time I spent time in nature?

  • If I looked at the thought objectively, like it was someone other than me who was having it, how would I respond?

If there’s something on the list that is an actionable thing, I go and do that before making any decisions based on the fear or the negative thought pattern. Usually after I go and sort out that thing I am missing, I feel more positive and balanced. The negativity fades and I am motivated to go and take on life! The truth is, we will never be completely rid of fear or anxiety. We can however decide to live despite it. Give this tactic a go and see if it changes how you feel. Go on, what have you got to lose?

Alexandra McPhee