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Mental well-being

3 ways to stop your negative inner voice

Having issues with the negative inner voice in your head? Tell it to shut up once and for all.

 Dan Murray-Serter
Dan Murray-Serter
April 06, 2020
3 min read

We’re all familiar with the negative inner voice. The one that has the gall to utter all the worst things you think about yourself, the one that gets in the way of success by criticising your every move.

Tell your inner voice: ambition is better than perfection

Being ambitious doesn’t mean you need to tear yourself down and bully yourself into achieving more in dogged pursuit of perfection.

In fact, by listening to your critical inner voice, you can actually send yourself further off course, away from your goals.

The key is learning to differentiate between perfectionism and ambition.

The benefits of positive thinking

The advantages of positive thinking are everywhere—its fans ranging from the evangelical to the sceptical converts, and everyone in between.

But, what’s the science behind it? And are the benefits of positive thinking proven, or hearsay?

Read now

Does your inner voice demand perfection? Truth bomb: that's what is holding you back.

If you haven’t jumped on the Brené Brown train yet (she’s Oprah-approved), here’s a quote from her book, The Gifts of Imperfection to blow that inner voice out of the water.

Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis. 

3 ways to stop your inner voice

—Give that b*tch a voice

Hell, give it a name. Who’s the most loathsome character you can think of? David Brent? Janice from Friends? Mr Burns? Your mother in law?

Start to recognise when negative, crtical thoughts start to keep in, and give them a voice that isn't your own. This will make it easier to identify when you’re listening to your inner voice, and so, make it easier to stop listening (or tell it to shut up).

—Show yourself some compassion

Learning self-kindness means that you can pick yourself up after a fall and be vulnerable enough to try again. Meditation is an effective way to make great progress in this area.

A popular one is a “loving-kindness” meditation, where in essence you send love, peace, wellness or general good vibes to other people and things in your life, including yourself.

Psychologist, Chris Germer has plenty of free meditations and self-compassion exercises to try. (Don't be surprised if it takes you a while to be ok with this - it's a process.)

—Be your own friend

Imagine if you spoke to your friends as harshly as your inner voice speaks to you.

If you told your nearest and dearest that they’re rubbish, made fun of their fashion choices and made them re-live inconsequential cringe-worthy moments for hours on end—you’d be unfriended pretty quickly.

You’re stuck with yourself for life, so you might as well be mates.

FOR THE NERDY: Pipe down, critics (Source: Psychology Today)

Podcast: How to stop negative self-talk with Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty wants you to sit with your negativity. The hugely popular social media influencer and author of Think Like A Monk has seen how negative self-talk can blight even the most zen of lifestyles. Negativity is part and parcel of existence, so how can we deal with it productively?

Listen now

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