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  • Steve Boatwright


For us stroke survivors and others who are going through major life changes, it is important to pay attention to what words we are saying to ourselves. Words themselves cannot change reality, but they can change how one perceives reality. Let's say you are about to meet someone new and a friend tells you that that person is conniving and likes to gossip, chances are you will be likely to have the idea that this person is conniving without forming your own opinion, based on that person’s actions, first. From that point forward you will take each thing that person says with a grain of salt and watch what you say around them, assuming they are untrustworthy because they were labeled with a specific word.

Now, what happens when you speak negative words to yourself? Do you ever look in the mirror and call yourself ugly? Do you ever mess something up and say under your breath, you stupid idiot! Think about how much these negative words can affect you. Do you know words carry energy and vibration, just like anything else? If everybody knew how much power words had, they would never speak another negative word about themselves or give power to another negative thought again. You may not even realize that you are doing it half the time, because it happens so easily and so often.

Negative self-talk can take many forms, for example;

Things just always go wrong for me; I’m unlucky

I could never do that

I just don't have what it takes

I’m too old to learn a new language/skill/job

I’m just not a very creative person

The examples listed above are all forms of negative self-talk, and you better believe that each one of those statements carries energy behind it. The Neuroscience behind our words has shown that negative words, whether spoken, heard, or thought, not only cause situational stress but also contribute to long-term anxiety. You have chosen to give power to these thoughts and you can choose to take them away!

Other Types Of Negative Self-Talk


This is a great example of a very common form of negative self-talk. If you are constantly worried that something bad will happen, then it is almost like you are expecting it to happen.

“I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened. -Mark Twain

Criticizing Yourself

When you are picking out all of these things that you perceive as flaws about yourself, you're forgetting about all of the great qualities that you possess.

Playing The Victim

This is a very common one, and a very tough habit to break. When you play the victim, you feel like you are a victim of your circumstances and bad things just happen to you and it’s out of your control. When you do this, it is not uncommon to complain often and blame everyone else for how pitiful you perceive your life to be. Don’t take everything so personally!

How Do We Overcome Negative Self-Talk?

First, you have to recognize this is something negatively affecting your life and have the desire to break this habit – that’s all it is a bad habit. It may take a while because chances are, you’ve been doing this to yourself for many years. Negative thoughts will inevitably pass through your mind on occasion, but the goal in breaking this bad habit is to ensure you are having more positive thoughts and are saying more positive things about yourself than negative.

So, when you catch yourself mumbling something negative to yourself, stop the thought in its tracks and laugh off whatever the situation was that made you think that thought in the first place. Chances are, a little adjustment in perspective will make the situation seem far less dreadful. When you wake up in the morning and find yourself in front of a mirror, take a moment to smile at yourself and say something positive, the more you do it, the more natural it will start to become because you will start to believe it.

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