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Overcoming Negative Self-Talk With Positive Affirmations

And before you roll your eyes—this practice is supported by neuroscience.

Overcoming Negative Self-Talk With Positive Affirmations

There is only one person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with, and that is yourself. That inner dialogue running through your subconscious will loop forever—from drifting off with your thoughts at night to waking up with yourself in the morning.

While distractions and coping mechanisms can drown out the noise for a time, the evasion is always only temporary. It’s inevitable that you will have to confront not only how you truly feel about yourself, but also how your self-concept impacts the rest of your life.

If you’ve ever asked yourself “What causes negative self-talk?” rest assured that it’s both common and easy to become your own enemy. One might go further and say, societally, it’s encouraged. Major profits come from the manipulation of low self-esteem, selling us the bodies we’re “supposed” to have, the cosmetic treatments that will make us “desirable,” and the luxury items that will ensure our “value.” 

Transmuting negative self-talk is a radical act, overriding an internalized patriarchal mindset and reclaiming the version of the brain you had before you were hijacked and infused with insecurity.


How Do I Get Rid of Negative Self-Talk?

Your self-concept directly impacts what you invite in or repel. We’re in a constant energy exchange with the world around us, and if we’re ruminating in a low sense of worth, confirmation bias will only reaffirm that reality. That’s why it’s important to rewire our inner dialogues with positive affirmations, not only shifting our relationship with ourselves, but our interaction with the world surrounding us. 

Affirmations are defined as positive, optimistic statements we use repeatedly that resonate with us, reinforce a truth we want for ourselves, and slowly reprogram our brains to believe. They’re typically formatted as “I am” statements, like “I am beautiful, capable, and smart,” or “I am enough as is.” 

While affirmations may seem like a woo-woo waste of time to some, there’s more science to the practice than you may realize. The success of affirmations is rooted in Neuroscience—repetition of affirming statements helps the brain create new neural pathways and physical connections to your repetitive thoughts. Strengthening these pathways makes it easier for the mind to return to these positive statements and thinking patterns rather than falling back into negative thinking, which leads to enhanced self-esteem and confidence. Ultimately, reciting affirmations helps us to challenge and defeat self-sabotaging thoughts long-term.

While some of the truths you affirm to yourself may feel difficult to believe at first, with persistence and consistency, you will strengthen the muscle necessary to root in a confident state of self-belief. Many people on a journey to rid abolish negative self-talk use the method of asking themselves, “would I say this to a friend?” From critical body image to perceived failure, it’s almost natural to be gentle with and supportive of our loved ones. If you were to talk down on those you love the most, the quality of your relationship would certainly need to be reevaluated. Positive affirmations are a reminder that you deserve to love on yourself the way you would a family member or friend.


4 Ways To Practice Positive Affirmations

The root cause of negative self-talk can come from childhood, social media, and society at large. However, beyond seeking therapy, beginning a positive affirmation practice is a bold first step toward learning how to love yourself. Here are some ideas on how to begin:


Practice Mirror Work

During your morning, nightly routine, take the time you’re already using in front of the mirror to look yourself in the eye and instill positive beliefs. Say them out loud, or in your mind’s voice if you feel shy about being heard. If any negative self-talk stems from a poor body image, doing mirror work naked can be incredibly transformative.


Write Your Affirmations Down

A journaling practice can already be incredibly helpful when it comes to strengthening your mental health. Whether you’re writing down a stream of thoughts and emotions or practicing a gratitude list, why not incorporate some positive affirmations into the routine?


Listen to Affirmations

Listening to positive affirmations is an excellent way to imprint the affirmations into your subconscious. There are plenty of affirmation videos on YouTube, ranging in categories specific to what you want to reinforce. You can also record a voice memo of you speaking your personal affirmations over yourself, which can make the practice even more powerful. 


Make a Playlist

There are plenty of songs with lyrics that reinforce self-worth. From Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” to Beyoncé’s “Cozy” to Beautiful Chorus’ entire catalog, run wild curating a playlist of songs that make you feel like the goddess you are. Letting it play in the car, during your workout, or simply as the soundtrack of your day can infuse some fun into your practice.


What Are The 3 C’s of Negative Self-Talk?

While negative self-talk can stem from anywhere, these ‘3 C’s’ represent some of the most common:



When you look at someone else's life and start feeling like your own isn’t as worthwhile.



When you put yourself down with harsh and unfair judgments about your value and worth.



When you focus on the negatives of a situation, or your life in general, without taking steps to improve it.


Another method of combating negative self-talk is to practice a different set of 3 C’s: catch it, check it, and change it. This means catching it when your brain is falling into self-deprecating territory, sitting with where it stemmed from and why it’s not true nor helpful, and overriding it with a new belief that’s supportive and uplifting.


It’s important to note that positive affirmations are not to be confused with spiritual bypassing, i.e. subscribing to an optimistic outlook so unrealistic that you don’t let yourself feel your true emotions. Positive affirmations are not intended to suppress negativity; instead, they are a tool that supports an overall healing process, letting yourself feel the full depth of your emotions and truth of your current reality—while actively choosing to love yourself throughout it all.

And remember—when you let the negative thoughts win, you’re letting the inner child within who knew they were unconditionally beautiful and worthy of love lose. Don’t let a system built on keeping you powerless poison you into believing you don’t already have everything within to live out your fullest potential.

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