How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk

When someone talks about you, they are referring to your personality or character traits. Personality traits are learned behavior patterns, and they can change over time.

Negative self-talk can lead to depression, anxiety and even chronic illness. Luckily, you can learn to control negative thoughts by changing the way you talk to yourself.

You can use the following strategies to overcome negative self-talk:

Redirect your thoughts. Practice clearing your mind through meditation or mindfulness practices, such as sitting still for a short period of time each day, paying attention to your breath, and setting intentions. You can also try reading biographies or articles about people who have overcome adversity or faced challenges in life. Seeing how others have survived or succeeded can give you a new perspective on your own challenges.

Stop the cycle of negative self-talk by replacing it with positive thoughts. Say positive affirmations out loud or write them down to yourself. Addressing yourself in the second or third person — “you are an amazing writer” or “you’re so smart” — is another powerful strategy that can help retrain your brain to think positively about yourself.

Identify what makes you unique. If you’re creative, passionate and driven, you may want to consider pursuing a career in the arts or starting your own business. Be specific about your qualities when interviewing for a job by listing how you’ve used these characteristics to excel in previous roles.

Be a lifetime learner. Employers value people who are committed to growth and learning and who are flexible and resourceful in changing circumstances. When you interview, you can highlight your ability to learn quickly and adapt by describing how you’ve improved your work performance as well as how you’ve worked with a wide variety of teams and clients.

If you have a loved one who has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), you may feel frustrated that they can’t seem to change. But remember that it’s not your fault; it’s the person with NPD’s choice whether they seek treatment or continue to act negatively towards you and other people.

You can’t change the way someone with NPD behaves, but you can encourage them to seek treatment. You can also support them by staying calm, and not taking their negativity personally.

If you’re dealing with a family member who has NPD, remember that they can only change if they want to. NPD is a treatable condition, but the person with the disorder must be willing to seek treatment and follow a plan for improvement. If they’re not willing to do so, it’s important that you get professional help for yourself and your loved ones. You can find a mental health provider in your area through the National Institutes of Health’s website, or you can contact your healthcare team for a referral. If you aren’t covered by insurance, you can still find help through community mental health programs and private providers. This content is developed and maintained by Healthdirect.