How to Stop Negative Talk with Positive Affirmations

You’ve likely heard of positive affirmations in your lifetime and if you’re anything like me, you may even be familiar with negative talk, as well. As a formerly morbidly obese person with low self-esteem, I’ve been down the negative talk road more than my fair share of times. But, I’m learning more about how positive affirmations can combat that negative talk and I’ll give you tips on how to stop negative talk in your daily life and especially during your workouts and/or runs.

As you may have read in many of my workout posts, I have an amazing workout partner who I’ve been with almost a year. She is strong physically, mentally, and spiritually and I have learned so much from her about working out, living life, and especially how to live with less stress due to positive affirmations. One of her favorite pieces of advice for me is this: If you say something, follow it with “and that’s just the way I want it”. If that’s true, then you’re good. If it’s not, take down that statement and replace it with a more positive statement.

For instance, I used to always say (during a run) that the first mile or two are the hardest. I struggled with that for many months and would complain to my husband about it. I even let that first mile get the best of me and I quit after one mile when I was scheduled for 3 or 4. One day I said this to my workout partner and she said “and that’s just the way you want it”. Yikes, no! She suggested that I say to myself something along the lines of “I am strong and this first mile is surprisingly easy”. This, quite simply, has changed my running attitude and my runs HAVE been easier since that day. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect and the negative talk doesn’t try to creep in, but now I am more aware of it and I can change the negative self-talk into positive affirmations.

How to stop negative talk:

Be self aware –

In order to stop negative talk in your own head, you’re going to have to know yourself really well. You have to know what triggers the negative talk or the origin before you can tackle clearing it from your mind. Try journaling or mind-mapping to keep track of when the negative talk begin and what triggers it. Then you can look back on these times and teach yourself to think in a more positive way.

For me, I am triggered by depression, anxiety, and weight or fitness related issues. I personally have chosen medication for my depression and anxiety. For weight related issues, I take pictures of myself and compare to where I was two years ago. For fitness related issues, I keep a calendar or a log of my workouts so I can look back to see my progression.

Worst case scenario –

Think about the worst case scenario in your mind when the negative talk starts. If you think you can “live” through that, then you know you’re on the right track. How many times does the worst case scenario ACTUALLY happen? Work your way through the worst case scenario and the actions leading up to that ending and discover what you can do to turn things around.

For instance, in my running I have a fear of finishing last or not finishing a race. The “worst” thing (in my mind) that could happen is that I’m told by the race officials that I have to leave the course. What I’m doing to avoid this is training for long runs and celebrating my successes along the way. If the time comes when I am told to leave the course, I will just train harder for the next time!

No more “always” and “never” talk –

Start listening to your statements that include the words always and never. “The first mile is always the hardest” or “I never lift as heavy as I want” are two examples. These words lead to black and white thinking and life really is all about living in the gray areas and celebrating all the colors in between. Begin by replacing these words with “sometimes” and work your way up to stronger statements, such as “The first mile is invigorating and gets my blood pumping” or “I can push myself to lift a little heavier”.

You are a work in progress –

Holding yourself to a perfection standard can be defeating. Instead, you should embrace your imperfections and know that you are a work in progress. When you start to get down on yourself for something you’ve done or something you couldn’t do, just try again next time and celebrate your improvements. Imperfections are a part of life, but we don’t have to accept them as permanent. We can move past these challenges and work on self improvement through positive affirmations.

You are not “stupid”, “slow”, “ugly” –

Whatever negative talk word you use to describe yourself. You are not! You are a beautiful human being with a past, present, and future and you are destined for great things. Yes, you have to apply yourself and push yourself to be better, but that’s the fun of life. We’re not here to just live and die, but to make an impact on one another and this world. You are not “stupid”, “slow”, “ugly”, or “fat”. You are what you believe you can be and you must speak that truth into existence. So, next time you mess up and say “I’m so stupid”, stop yourself and replace it with “wow, what an amazing learning experience”.

Overall, replacing negative talk with positive affirmations takes practice. You have to repeat the positive statements to yourself over and over and negative talk is not going to go away immediately and for good. You have to keep at it and tell yourself – “I’m a work in progress, leading to the best me”.

How do you stop negative talk? Do you ever use positive affirmations?



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