Identifying the Different Forms of Negative Self-Talk

Negative self-talk is an often-cited difficulty that makes achieving goals more challenging. Recognizing all its forms is one step toward disarming an inner critic and changing your thinking patterns.

Change can take time and practice; however, there are techniques available that can help stop this type of negative self-talk in its tracks.


Catastrophizing is a form of negative self-talk in which individuals automatically anticipate the worst-case scenarios without evidence to support such thoughts. For example, you may fumbled over an insignificant report at work and imagine yourself without employment and living on the street as a result. Catastrophizing is often associated with anxiety disorders but can also worsen feelings of discomfort, according to research.

Your good news is that learning to stop catastrophizing is possible! Self-care steps you can take, as well as discussing it with a trusted friend or therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy may provide assistance.

CBT techniques can be beneficial in helping reduce negative thinking behaviors like catastrophizing. They include recognizing and challenging unhelpful thoughts, practicing mindfulness meditation and reframing your perspectives. You should consult your physician regarding potential treatment options as depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder may all lead to catastrophizing.

Certain people are more inclined to catastrophizing than others; those struggling with low self-esteem may find it harder to stop these thoughts than others. Certain conditions, like fibromyalgia, may increase your risk for catastrophizing as well; it’s important to discuss whether these conditions could be contributing to or causing your catastrophizing with your physician in order to assess whether medication could help ease discomfort caused by these negative thoughts and reduce their impact on daily life.


Distinguishing between reality and unhelpful thoughts that amplify anxiety is often challenging, yet identifying them is the first step to changing them. Writing down your thoughts in a journal, talking with loved ones or speaking to a counselor may help identify patterns and learn to question negative self-talk when it arises. Meditation techniques that focus on loving-kindness meditation such as Loving-Kindness can improve self-compassion while making challenging unhelpful thoughts simpler.

Related Article:  What Does Being In A 'Zen State' Really Mean?

Personalization is a cognitive distortion in which an individual takes something negatively that happens or someone’s behavior personally when there is no supporting evidence for such claims. For instance, if one of your family members’ health declines unexpectedly, this may make you believe it was your responsibility as you didn’t provide them enough care.

Negative thinking can lead to decreased motivation and stress levels, an inability to see potential growth opportunities or take risks and strain relationships by making people believe they’re responsible for events outside their control, like natural disasters or bad days at work.

To help alter personalizing thoughts, try picturing how your closest friends or family would treat you if they were in your situation. This will help you see that what you are telling yourself is invalid. Similarly, giving your inner critic an amusing name (such as Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer) may lessen its power over you. Of course, shifting longstanding patterns of negativity takes time and practice but with determination and professional assistance it’s possible to learn to silence its voice confidently.


Magnification is a cognitive distortion in which individuals give too much importance to an event. An example would be viewing one’s mistakes, weaknesses or shortcomings as having a great negative effect on one’s self-esteem while simultaneously diminishing achievements, strengths and attributes that were once important. Magnification can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression while creating feelings of vulnerability in its victims.

To break out of this magnification cycle, it can be beneficial to employ various tools and strategies. One method would be asking if the problem really is as big as you believe it is and listing any positive attributes or aspects about either person involved – the key being keeping this positive list longer than negative lists.

Consider looking at your issues through a pair of binoculars; imagine having removed their magnification lens so as to gain more objective perspectives without jumping to conclusions based on singular evidence. This approach can help you see things more objectively and avoid leaping to premature conclusions based on circumstantial evidence alone.

Related Article:  Vipassana Meditation Instruction To Consider

Other forms of negative self-talk include filtering (only seeing the negative parts of any situation); catastrophizing (assuming the worst will happen without any evidence; for instance when someone compliments you but then thinks anyone could have done it); saying you “should” do something and then beating yourself up over not doing it; and polarising (viewing things as either good or bad with no middle ground). Recognizing and challenging these negative thoughts is key to moving forward successfully in your career and life.


People with this type of inner dialogue tend to take an all or nothing approach to life, refusing to settle for any form of compromise and reacting negatively when things don’t go their way – for instance if they must pay for dinner while trying to save money they assume this means their savings efforts won’t work anymore, while when friends cancel plans they assume this means they don’t want to spend time with them anymore.

Identification of negative thought patterns is essential in initiating their alteration. A journal or conversation with someone you trust can help identify unhelpful internal narratives as merely thoughts; while professional counseling services provide expert guidance and coaching to overcome such destructive patterns.

Positive thinking is the best way to combat negative self-talk. You should identify where negative thoughts originate – from childhood experiences to societal pressures – then use mindfulness techniques to become aware of such thoughts and reframe them with more balanced perspectives.

Negative self-talk can often be caused by being in an emotionally difficult state, which causes your brain to release catecholamines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, leading to a “fight or flight” response and increasing stress and anxiety levels.

Related Article:  Spiritual Guidance - Getting to Know Your Guardian Angels

Stepping forward to improve your mindset can have profound benefits on both mental and physical wellbeing, including reduced depression risk and strengthened immunity systems. Consider changing negative thoughts into positive ones and treating yourself like you would treat a trusted friend – over time this change of perspective will become part of your internal dialogue and eventually it’ll become second nature.


Negative self-talk can be devastating in various ways. It can lower self-esteem, leading to depression if left unchecked, as well as inhibit motivation for reaching goals and taking risks. Breaking this cycle may seem impossible, but there are steps you can take.

One way to counter negative self-talk is to recognize when you are making comparisons between yourself and other people, then challenging their logic with more realistic thoughts that are more accurate.

Another effective strategy for relieving anxiety is looking at the bigger picture. You might try gazing upon a globe and reminding yourself that your problems are small compared to its scale, or listing all the positive aspects of any situations you are worrying about – for instance if a friend doesn’t talk enough, remember how much fun you have when they do talk to you!

Research demonstrates the significance of negative self-talk as it has an immediate and real-world effect on mood and emotions, leading to further stress levels and potentially leading to unhealthy behavior patterns. Negative self-talk can create an upward spiral wherein negative thinking creates even more stress – increasing its likelihood for unhealthy choices to emerge in response.