How to Stop Negative Thoughts in Their Tracks

You’ve certainly heard about your self-talk by now. That’s the non-stop flow of thoughts that goes through your mind. The vast majority of it is about yourself. 

It can be good or bad, and it can either build up or tear down your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Naturally, positive self-talk -that is, positive thoughts about yourself -raise your self-confidence and negative self-talk lowers it. Negative self-talk can completely destroy your self-confidence. 

If you’re trying to build your self-confidence, you’re going to need to get control of your self-talk and stop the negative thoughts that are harming you. Then you need to replace them with positive thoughts.

Here’s how to do it. 

 Begin Noticing Your Self-Talk

Everyone talks to themselves constantly. The majority of people don’t realize they’re doing it unless an unusual thought sticks out or they start paying attention. The first step to controlling your self-talk is to begin to notice it. Pay attention.

The importance of this step can’t be overstated. You need to notice and understand your self-talk before you can change it. The most important thing you need to notice are the negative thoughts. If you’ve been having self-confidence issues, these might be the majority of your thoughts. Here are some examples of negative thoughts:

“What were you thinking, you idiot?” “You can’t do that!” “What’s the use?” “I’ll never succeed at anything.”

Any time you put yourself down or denigrate yourself counts. This includes the use of self-deprecating humor.

Start Challenging The Negative Thoughts

The next step is to begin challenging the negative thoughts when you notice them. When you catch your self-talk being negative, stop the thought and tell yourself “That’s not true.” It doesn’t matter what the thought was or what name you were calling yourself; it’s not true.

Replace The Negative Thought With A Positive One

After you’ve gotten good at challenging negative thoughts, start amending them to positive ones. “I can’t do that” becomes “I can do that if I try hard enough” and so forth. Do this every time you catch yourself having a negative thought about yourself. It may be difficult, especially in the beginning, but stick with it.

Become Your Own Cheerleader 

You have a torrent of thoughts running through your head at all times, or at least while you’re awake. This cascade is called your self-talk. Almost all of it concerns yourself -who you are, what you are, what you want for lunch, the itch on the back of your right ankle.

It’s the former things that are important where self-confidence is concerned, of course. What you say to yourself matters. It can build your self-image up or tear it down. That’s why techniques such as affirmations work -they directly target what you say to yourself.

If you want to improve your self-confidence, you need to take charge of this stream of positive thoughts, at least as much as possible. Don’t depend on your unconscious to do it for you. Become your own cheerleader.

How do you do this? Start purposefully talking to yourself. It doesn’t need to be aloud; talking to yourself silently is often as effective. Tell yourself good things about yourself. You’re a good person. You’re competent and capable. You can do whatever you want. You’re a good parent/employee/friend/spouse/etc.

Make these things as specific as possible. If you’re currently trying to master a new skill, talk about how well you can do it and how quickly you’re learning. If you’re studying for a test, tell yourself how good you’re going to do.

Emphasize The Attributes You’re Working To Improve

Tell yourself you’re doing a good job, that you’re trying hard, that you’ll make it. When you fail, don’t berate yourself. Be understanding, kind, and gentle. Know that you tried your best, worked hard, and will get it next time.

If it helps, see yourself as the coach or the parent of someone you’re trying to help. Does putting someone down or being negative help them improve? Of course not. So why would it help you? It won’t, of course. It will just make things worse. Treat yourself as you would want someone else to treat you.

Do this all the time. You don’t have to wait until something difficult or stressful comes up. Talk to yourself daily. Become your own best friend and a cheerleader any football team would envy. Your self-confidence will soar.

If you do this consistently, the number of negative thoughts in your self-talk will gradually diminish. This takes time, but you will eventually replace them with the positive thoughts you’re using instead. You’ll slowly reprogram yourself into thinking positively about yourself, which will boost your self-confidence.

Keep A Self-Care Journal Planner To Help You On Your Journey

Check out this 21 page self-care journal planner, created by yours truly. My goal with this self-care journal planner, is to help you keep track of the most important things in your life that will give you the confidence boost you need.  You can use this self-care journal planner digitally, to fill out by using Adobe Acrobat Reader for free and insert text where you wish; or you can simply print out the pages and fill it out by hand. Here's a discount code for an additional 20% OFF. Discount will be applied at checkout: (Note: this code will only be applied to the "21 page self-care planner" located under the digital planner section on my Etsy shop).

**extended until 08/31/2022.

Either way, I pray that you will find comfort, peace and love in anything positive, that will help you feel the best version of yourself!

The Lord Is Compassionate & Gracious ~ Psalm 145:8