6 Ways to Stop Negative Self-Talk

Ever find yourself thinking "that person's in better shape than me," "I'm going to fail chem," "colleges won't accept me," or "I'll never fall in love?"

If the answer is "yes," you are totally normal. Everyone, even the attractive, rich, famous, "omg they have it all" people, have negative thoughts that bring them down. It doesn't matter how many social media followers someone has, anyone can have a bad day.

Sometimes, negative or anxious thinking can be helpful, like when it motivates you to master the periodic table before a big test or finish the first draft of your zombie novel for your college application. Sometimes, it can be extreme, making you unnecessarily insecure, taking jabs at your confidence and making you question your abilities to achieve your dreams. Obviously, that's not ideal.

So what can you do about it?

  1. Catch your negative thoughts. When you start to have negative or insecure thoughts, make a mental note or a physical note by writing in your journal. Think about the circumstances contributing to this particular thought. What triggered it? How did it make you feel? Sometimes, just writing down an unwanted thought can help shrink it down to size.

  • Seek out the truth. Ask yourself if what you're thinking is true. Actually true. Start with these questions: "Would everyone think this is true?" "Would I say something so critical of someone else?" "Is it possible I am being too hard on myself?" Much of the time, you'll find that your thoughts are not as factual as they might at first seem.
  • Think a new thought. If you find yourself having a negative thought, replace it with a more realistic one. Turn "I'm never going to be prepared for the SAT" into "I'm going to do the best I can to cover as much ground as I can before the test." Sometimes, it can be difficult to change a thought, but be patient with yourself and ease into shifting your mindset.
  • Change your focus. Sometimes, shaking negative thoughts takes some extra effort. If you find yourself in a downward spiral, focus on something else. Listen to music, watch your favorite movie, call a friend or go work out.
  • Be grateful...for anything. That's right. Gratitude is a great way to power positivity. Focus on stuff that makes you happy, like the delicious lunch you just ate, the new album your favorite artist just released or last night's text convo with your crush. Make a list in your head or on paper.
  • Ask for help. Everyone has negative thoughts, but excess negative thinking can lead to or be a sign of a depression and other conditions. If you're having trouble being more positive, or if you're thinking about harming yourself, tell someone. Parents, doctors and school counselors can help.
  • How do you improve your mood and unleash your confidence? Tell us in the comments!

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