Overcoming Negative Self Talk-How You Think Changes How You Feel - With Nick Wignall

All right everyone - I am super excited today, because I have a special guest on my channel. His name is Nick Wignal and he has a blog that I read all the time and every time I read it, I learned something new, so I think you guys are really going to love him because the way he teaches and the way he explains concepts is Very orderly and it gives you really actionable steps so hi nick.

Thank you so much for um joining my channel for being willing to spend some time with us today. Yeah. You bet thanks for having me yeah. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule. Today we are going to talk a little bit about how we talk to ourselves and how we treat ourselves and some ways we can improve that to to do a little bit better.

So, okay! Well, let's, talk about self-talk right um. What what is self-talk? How would you describe like what is self-talk um yeah, so in some ways I think you don't want to get too complicated with it.

It's. Just the way you talk to yourself in your head, like we all talk to ourselves, um, I think some of us are more or less aware of how much we talk to ourselves and sort of the quality of that speech, but I think I think all of Us kind of understand that, like thoughts, kind of run through your mind, the kind of two ways I like to think about there's, two different ways.

I like to approach this um one is to think about it like you just like you have different ways of talking to different people in your life. You know so like I. I talk to my old rugby buggies from college in a very different way than I talk to my grandmother right like um.

It's, it's, just a different kind of style. I have like a different uh approach to talking. We tend to talk about different things, um, so the way I talk to certain people is going to be a little bit different than the way I talk to other people, and - and so one way you can think about.

Self-Talk is just like you have a certain style or approach to talking with different people in your life um most of us have a certain style of talking to ourselves, and so that's, one way of looking at self-talk.

So what are some of the common patterns you see with your clients of people like how they talk to themselves, um, both like harmful ways or potentially some? You know helpful ways yeah. So I think it's again.

It's important to answer. I want to start this kind of answer by reminding everyone of their different styles of communicating and it's, not that one or one or the other is bad or good right. They're.

Just better or worse or more helpful in different situations and with different people, so we can think about the same thing with ourselves with our self-talk and the what happened when people get into trouble with self-talk is when their self-talk gets really stuck.

They get stuck in a certain style of talking to themselves or about things that happen um and they can & # 39. T shift gears to introduce a new metaphor here so like a really common one, for instance, is um, so one likes um.

Technically they're, called cognitive distortions, but their their style, their ways of thinking about things that are either inaccurate or kind of unhelpful and so um one of them is called fortune telling right and fortune telling is when you are basically predicting the future.

Now the ability to predict the future is, it can be a really great thing, our ability to kind of imagine like what's going to happen in the future. Obviously super important, like i'm glad we can do that right, yeah, but we we do that.

Well, when there's, some data or evidence for what's going to happen in the future. When you, when you're reasoning based on real kind of data or or evidence or yeah whatnot. But when you're doing that when you're, just um catastrophizing, for instance, you're, just going straight to the worst case scenario right.

Without any reason, for going there, you that's, a that's, a mental habit you can get into you can just get into a habit of immediately start starting to tell yourself. Oh, this terrible thing is going to happen, dot, dot, dot, dot and then kind of going down that, like rabbit hole, um another one.

This is never going to work. I'm, going to fail college. No one's going to like me, um. You know things like that right. Exactly not only is it inaccurate right when you're kind of making assumptions about the future, but you don't actually have any evidence or data for that, but it's, just not especially helpful right.

So that's, that's, one of them um mind reading is another one where again there's. A useful version of this, where i'm kind of listening to you and i'm inferring from your facial expressions that, like all right nick, that is getting pretty boring like let's.

Move on to the next thing. Like that's, good that I can kind of read you right and get a sense for maybe what you're thinking, like all these things could have a function when they're using the right time.

Right, like so mind, reading like trying to empathize or understand what someone else is thinking can help you be a little bit more in tune to them, but then and then it can go wrong right yeah I mean, but if you, if you do that constantly like And you do it without any sort of real evidence.

If i'm just making up stories in my mind about what you're thinking of what i'm talking about that can start to be really unhelpful, it can start to lead to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Stress frustration, anger whatever it is um, so i think the first kind of takeaway I think when it comes to self-talk, is just to realize there are different like styles of thinking, right um.

Sometimes you're, going to be really kind of jokey or even sarcastic right. Sometimes you're, going to be really empathetic and supportive. Sometimes you're, going to be really intellectual. Sometimes you're, going to be really pragmatic.

None of these are good or bad right, but they're different styles of thinking and just like you can have different styles of thinking about the world and what's happening? You can have different styles of thinking about yourself and talking to yourself, and so first of all, it's.

Just important to be aware of that and to ask yourself do i tend to get really stuck in one particular style like do i tend to personalize that's, another one right whenever something bad happens and something you know, someone critiques my work, I I instantly go from you know they didn't like the presentation to they think i'm, a terrible employee right or instead of like yeah.

I put my foot in my mouth and said that kind of insensitive thing and they didn't like that. It's. They think i'm, a terrible person or like or i'm. I'm, an awful husband or spouse, or something like that right, yeah yeah, so you think like a little mistake or you take a little flaw or some piece of criticism and you you turn this into your identity right.

You're like oh, I am a terrible mother instead of oh, i just did that thing that wasn't great, like i'm, a terrible mother right right, and these things are all we often times we can kind Of see them after the fact, if someone points out, you know the next day, like you kind of like jump into conclusions there or like.

Maybe you're kind of projecting out into the future, and there's, not a lot of good reason. You can. After the fact you can step back and go like oh yeah. Okay, there wasn't a whole lot of evidence. For that, or I know i'm, not a terrible person just because I made one mistake.

The the trick, though, is to be able to see it in the moment, and this is where it's. It's really hard to be able to move out of that narrator voice and see yourself, like you, would the author to be able to see both the narrator and the character and to take a more kind of balanced um perspective on things and It's, it's just really hard, and it takes a lot of practice um to be able to do that.

But before you can even start to work on that, you have to start thinking about self-talk more generally and these different styles, that's. Why we have these these little like names like fortune telling or mind, reading or personalizing or emotional reasoning, or there's all these different labels, because the label, when you have a word for something it's easier to think about it? If you don't know if you don't language for something you're, just not going to think about it right, but once you have a word for it, you're going to go.

Oh wait! Hey i'm. Doing that thing right i'm mind reading i'm like projecting into and so having a word allows us to have more awareness. When you have more awareness, you can catch it. Okay, so giving it a name, creates more awareness, and when you have awareness, then you can start catching it and it's, not right in the moment you can start catching it after, even like not even until your next therapy session.

The next time you sit down and journal yeah, then gradually you can bring that closer and closer to that event. When you're doing it and then hopefully catch yourself right before you do it and say: oh, that's.

What I want to do this is how I want to talk to myself right yep and, if you think about it, that's, how any process of skill acquisition works. It's, always like slow and awkward at first, and you're only catching stuff after you know, if you think about like practicing scales on the piano or swinging a golf club or baking, something I don't know.

Whatever it is, you always feel slow, like you always feel like you're playing catch-up, but if you stick with it, it gets a little bit faster and you get more and more to the point where you cannotice it in the moment.

So I was trying to remind people, even if you're, even if you're, getting frustrated because you're, catching it later after the fact that's, okay, that's normal in every Area of life: this is how we learn right.

We're slow and it takes a while. So don't give up just because you don't catch it in the moment that's, not bad. That's, not a bad sign that's totally normal. You're, like all of us like trying to learn anything right, and so that's good.

If, even if you can & # 39, t catch it until your next therapy session or a couple hours afterwards, that's, fine, the more you catch it um a day later, the easier it's, gonna be to catch it. An hour later, the more you catch it an hour later, the more you're gonna catch it.

You know five minutes later and pretty soon you'll, start to be able to catch it more in the moment, which is really the sweet spot, because if you can catch it in the moment, you can actually influence it and go a different direction.

Right, which is that's, the holy grail like that's. What we all want to get to right, yeah yeah. So how do we do that right? So we & # 39. Ve got this habitual pattern. We've, been doing it, maybe our whole lives.

Maybe we were spoken to this way as kids right, like our parents, maybe said. Oh, you're, a failure. You're, an idiot or you're gonna fail or stop that you're, so stupid or you know labeling or this talk, and then we develop this habit of internal self-talk and that we're.

Trying to change it. This is like, like bushwhacking neural pathways, that's like combining a couple of things, but right like we can change our brain, but it takes a while to beat these new pathways into our brain right.

So how do we do that? How do we start changing our self-talk? So first thing you mentioned is like get a name for it, find out a name, learn about these cognitive distortions, um and then start being aware of them start noticing them, and then, if you can catch them soon enough, you can rewrite them right, exactly yep the Kind of next, like intermediary step, there is starting to be aware not just of these patterns, of thinking these distortions, but triggers right.

Certain things in your environment, certain people, certain ways of talking certain things that happen to you are going to be especially triggering of certain patterns of self-talk. So if you can anticipate those triggers, you're, going to be much more likely to catch them.

Like if you just know that um, you know on like Thursday afternoons, like my boss is always super stressed because of some meeting she has and she's, just more likely to kind of say something biting or insensitive.

If you know that going into your Thursday meeting with her it's, not going to surprise you, and so you're, not going to be as flustered. If you see it coming, it's a lot easier to anticipate it and to deal with it.

Well, that makes so much that that's such a important thing to remember - because I forget about that - a lot like this triggers things, maybe as as a woman, I can say this but like I think it's, important to track Your periods, because, right before your period, that is when my negative is like.

Oh my gosh, you are a terrible human being and if I could be like oh, this is probably at that point in my cycle. I'm just gonna ignore that until I feel better, I talk about with my female clients all the time.

Actually that comes up a lot um, so it's super super common and that's. That's, just as meaningful as triggers as anything else, so that's. So if you've done kind of those like I first of all identify know that, like hey self-talk is a thing i tend to talk to myself.

Sometimes it's, not always super helpful. There are these specific modes of talking to myself right. If I can give those a name they're like oh, there goes my mind. Reading right or oh, there goes my label whatever it is.

You can catch it more easily if you're aware of the kinds of triggers like situations in your environment or your life, for certain people, where those unhelpful styles of thinking are more common, you can anticipate them right, which makes you you can adapt Better, you can be a little bit faster, instead of being kind of behind the curve, all the time yeah.

Then. I think that the next step is to you to realize, just because a thought is the first one that comes into my mind that doesn't, give it any like special value just because it's. First doesn't mean it's more correct or that I should think more about it or like it's, just the first one.

It's, just the first one to happen to show up. So that is super super important, because if you can do that, if you can recognize like okay, it's, the first one and not give any special priority to it.

It opens the door to the mo in some ways what's? The most important step, which is generating alternatives, alternative stories for what something means right so yeah. I lose my temper and like raise my voice and my daughter right something like that.

If my first thought is, like god, you're, a terrible dad like she's, gonna end up in therapy for the rest of her life, because you're awful um. If that's, my first thought - and I just assume okay, that's.

True well now that's. Gon na lead me down this very unhelpful path of thinking, which is like. Oh, i'm, a terrible dad like all this stuff is going to go bad like blah blah blah blah blah and then, of course, i'm going to feel awful yep.

I'm, not going to be able to help the situation like my daughter, because i'm feeling so bad right. On the other hand, if Ii can catch that initial thought and say, okay, wait! Wait a second here like really like you're, a terrible dad because, god forbid, you lost your temper once and raised your voice a little bit.

I don't think so, like the action was not helpful right, but that does not invalidate me as a person or as a parent right, so an another sort of story or way of looking at that. Well, one is exactly what I said like just because one specific action does not define me as a person right or I might say something like you know.

I I regret doing that. But you know all parents lose their cool, sometimes um it doesn't. You know like it happens to everybody right. That would be another sort of interpretation of things like it's, not that abnormal right, um or or even another.

One might be like you know what like I, I don't like that. I sort of yelled at my daughter, but actually it's, important for her to see that if she does certain things right that aren't that are against the rules or that if she's like mean to her Sister right, that has consequences like people like it's.

Okay, for her to see me getting angry, sometimes in response to what she does. That itself is not so these are all examples of different stories or if you prefer sort of different theories for what something means yeah.

I love that because not only are we questioning a little bit our thinking and that we can, we can put out five or six alternative ways of describing or making stories about what happened. But then we can ask ourselves which one's true and which one's helpful and I think sometimes, when someone's like really depressed or really anxious, asking that first question can be hard which one'S true like someone who's really depressed like? Is it true that you're, a terrible horrible, hopeless human being and they'll be like? Well, I think so.

But if you ask, is it helpful to believe that you're, a terrible human being? Does that help you get out of bed in the morning? No, that does not help right so so asking either of those questions can help people like challenge their thinking and take something like a little bit more action right, yep yeah, I I like selfie, if you're struggling with that, if you're like well, I just can't, think of anything that's more true, or that's, more helpful doesn't matter.

Literally, anything is better than just having one story and going with it. Even if the other things you generate are completely bonkers and off the wall right, that's at least a step in the right direction.

You're, getting a little bit more flexible with your thinking and that's really important, because how we feel emotionally flows directly from how we think and in particular how we talk to ourselves. So if you're, stuck in one particular way of talking to yourself that's, really unhelpful and and overly negative, for instance, you're, going to be stuck feeling that way, and your only hope of getting out of That is, if you can flex things if you can get a little bit more flexible, right, yeah.

The other kind of I would say, maybe third approach to negative self-talk, which is you don't, have to challenge it or even develop um sort of alternative theories, and you don't necessarily just have to redirect and think about something Else, the other thing you can do is what we sort of therapists and mental health professionals call self-compassion, which I have mixed feelings about, because I I love the idea of self-compassion is super important.

I feel, like the phrase, turns a lot of people off, so i'm gonna try and explain it in a very straightforward way, which is when we're struggling. We feel bad for something say. We're, worried about something most of us.

I think our self-talk tends to be pretty intense. It tends to be a little harsh, often judgmental if you were to kind of describe like the quality of your inner narrator. I think words like that would come up a lot like we're, very tough on ourselves in a lot of ways.

Oh yeah, I think most people are a lot harder on themselves than on anyone else in their lives. Well and that's, the big irony right, like we're so hard on ourselves and yet like in the next breath. We can be amazingly like compassionate and empathetic and supportive when, like our best friend who's struggling with the exact same thing comes to us, like we're like this model of empathy and support for this other person in our life And we're, we're just like awful to ourselves right.

We're, super harsh and critical, and judgmental so this idea of self-compassion. If that sounds fancy, all it means is learning to treat yourself like you would treat a friend who is struggling. So when you & # 39, re struggling right, just applying the same, not having a double standard, applying the same standard of support and empathy that you would apply to someone else who you cared about and learning to apply that to yourself and that that's totally okay and actually turns out secret.

It works a lot better than being super hard on yourself, um and so what? But at the end of the day, what i tell people is don't, take my word for it just experiment with it a little bit yeah for a week.

Try treating yourself when you struggle, like you, would treat a friend if it doesn't work or it leads you to becoming a completely irresponsible terrible person. Fine give it up you don't have to stick with it right, but just try it out for like a week and see what happens yeah.

I just encourage people to experiment with treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend and that ends up being a really powerful in the long run, a really powerful antidote to this problem of overly harsh negative, judgmental self-talk, and that takes us like right back To the beginning, right, you're.

Talking about this is like almost like a relationship right. You talk to your buddies in one way. You talk to your grandma in another way. How we talk to ourselves changes how we feel it really impacts our emotions and if we can be a little bit flexible and be a little bit curious and maybe experiment with some different ways of talking to ourselves, try it for a week right.

Try being gentle to yourself, like you, would be with a friend and see if that you know, impacts how you feel impacts how you act makes your life a little bit better, exactly exactly yeah it's really about relationships.

You just you do what you would do with any important relationship in your life like why not foster that same kind of relationship with yourself, I think, is, is the way to look at this and, I think, ends up being the most helpful in the long run.

I would agree with you, I would agree with you. Is there anything else you want to share as we wrap this up it? Actually it's, something you mentioned. I think maybe a good place to end. Is this idea that if you tend to be really harsh and judgmental with yourself another option, is you can be curious with yourself like when you notice yourself feeling angry right or um, overly personalizing, something you can step back and instead of saying like oh yeah, I Must be terrible, or I can't, believe i'm thinking like that, like what an awful way of thinking there's, this middle ground of just like, oh, like that's, interesting that that would be My first response, huh and when you when you, if you can approach things with that attitude of curiosity, almost always, it will open up many more doors and more helpful sort of ways to proceed.

In my experience, it sounds like that's like it. Just creates space right like just being curious about what you're doing, creates space, and when we have that space, like change, suddenly has options right.

We have the option to change. Yeah yeah, absolutely love it love it well cool. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day your busy schedule to um. I think I think my audience is going to love geeking out on all this self-talk stuff.

So awesome, thank you for having me yeah. I really appreciate it. [, Music, ] all right. Everyone, i am super excited today, because i have a special guest on my channel. His name is nick wignal and he has a blog that i read all the time and every time i read it, i learned something new, so i think you guys are really going to love him because the way he teaches and the way he explains concepts is Very orderly and it gives you really actionable steps so hi nick.

Thank you so much for um joining my channel for being willing to spend some time with us today. Yeah. You bet thanks for having me yeah. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule. Today we are going to talk a little bit about how we talk to ourselves and how we treat ourselves and some ways we can improve that to to do a little bit better.

So, okay! Well, let's, talk about self-talk right um. What what is self-talk? How would you describe like what is self-talk um yeah, so in some ways i think you don't want to get too complicated with it.

It's. Just the way you talk to yourself in your head, like we all talk to ourselves, um, i think some of us are more or less aware of how much we talk to ourselves and sort of the quality of that speech, but i think i think all of Us kind of understand that, like thoughts, kind of run through your mind, the kind of two ways i like to think about there's, two different ways.

I like to approach this um one is to think about it like you just like you have different ways of talking to different people in your life. You know so like i. I talk to my old rugby buggies from college in a very different way than i talk to my grandmother right like um.

It's, it's, just a different kind of style. I have like a different uh approach to talking. We tend to talk about different things, um, so the way i talk to certain people is going to be a little bit different than the way i talk to other people, and - and so one way you can think about.

Self-Talk is just like you have a certain style or approach to talking with different people in your life um most of us have a certain style of talking to ourselves, and so that's, one way of looking at self-talk.

So what are some of the common patterns you see with your clients of people like how they talk to themselves, um, both like harmful ways or potentially some? You know helpful ways yeah. So i think it's again.

It's important to answer. I want to start this kind of answer by reminding everyone of their different styles of communicating and it's, not that one or one or the other is bad or good right. They're.

Just better or worse or more helpful in different situations and with different people, so we can think about the same thing with ourselves with our self-talk and the what happened when people get into trouble with self-talk is when their self-talk gets really stuck.

They get stuck in a certain style of talking to themselves or about things that happen um and they can & # 39. T shift gears to introduce a new metaphor here so like a really common one, for instance, is um, so one likes um.

Technically they're, called cognitive distortions, but their their style, their ways of thinking about things that are either inaccurate or kind of unhelpful and so um one of them is called fortune telling right and fortune telling is when you are basically predicting the future.

Now the ability to predict the future is, it can be a really great thing, our ability to kind of imagine like what's going to happen in the future. Obviously super important, like i'm glad we can do that right, yeah, but we we do that.

Well, when there's, some data or evidence for what's going to happen in the future. When you, when you're reasoning based on real kind of data or or evidence or yeah whatnot. But when you're doing that when you're, just um catastrophizing, for instance, you're, just going straight to the worst case scenario right.

Without any reason, for going there, you that's, a that's, a mental habit you can get into you can just get into a habit of immediately start starting to tell yourself. Oh, this terrible thing is going to happen, dot, dot, dot, dot and then kind of going down that, like rabbit hole, um another one.

This is never going to work. I'm, going to fail college. No one's going to like me, um. You know things like that right. Exactly not only is it inaccurate right when you're kind of making assumptions about the future, but you don't actually have any evidence or data for that, but it's, just not especially helpful right.

So that's, that's, one of them um mind reading is another one where again there's. A useful version of this, where i'm kind of listening to you and i'm inferring from your facial expressions that, like all right nick, that is getting pretty boring like let's.

Move on to the next thing. Like that's, good that i can kind of read you right and get a sense for maybe what you're thinking, like all these things could have a function when they're using the right time.

Right, like so mind, reading like trying to empathize or understand what someone else is thinking can help you be a little bit more in tune to them, but then and then it can go wrong right yeah i mean, but if you, if you do that constantly like And you do it without any sort of real evidence.

If i'm just making up stories in my mind about what you're thinking of what i'm talking about that can start to be really unhelpful, it can start to lead to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Stress frustration, anger whatever it is um, so i think the first kind of takeaway i think when it comes to self-talk, is just to realize there are different like styles of thinking, right um.

Sometimes you're, going to be really kind of jokey or even sarcastic right. Sometimes you're, going to be really empathetic and supportive. Sometimes you're, going to be really intellectual. Sometimes you're, going to be really pragmatic.

None of these are good or bad right, but they're different styles of thinking and just like you can have different styles of thinking about the world and what's happening? You can have different styles of thinking about yourself and talking to yourself, and so first of all, it's.

Just important to be aware of that and to ask yourself do i tend to get really stuck in one particular style like do i tend to personalize that's, another one right whenever something bad happens and something you know, someone critiques my work, i I instantly go from you know they didn't like the presentation to they think i'm, a terrible employee right or instead of like yeah.

I put my foot in my mouth and said that kind of insensitive thing and they didn't like that. It's. They think i'm, a terrible person or like or i'm. I'm, an awful husband or spouse, or something like that right, yeah yeah, so you think like a little mistake or you take a little flaw or some piece of criticism and you you turn this into your identity right.

You're like oh, i am a terrible mother instead of oh, i just did that thing that wasn't great, like i'm, a terrible mother right right, and these things are all we often times we can kind Of see them after the fact, if someone points out, you know the next day, like you kind of like jump into conclusions there or like.

Maybe you're kind of projecting out into the future, and there's, not a lot of good reason. You can. After the fact you can step back and go like oh yeah. Okay, there wasn't a whole lot of evidence. For that, or i know i'm, not a terrible person just because i made one mistake.

The the trick, though, is to be able to see it in the moment, and this is where it's. It's really hard to be able to move out of that narrator voice and see yourself, like you, would the author to be able to see both the narrator and the character and to take a more kind of balanced um perspective on things and It's, it's just really hard, and it takes a lot of practice um to be able to do that.

But before you can even start to work on that, you have to start thinking about self-talk more generally and these different styles, that's. Why we have these these little like names like fortune telling or mind, reading or personalizing or emotional reasoning, or there's all these different labels, because the label, when you have a word for something it's easier to think about it? If you don't know if you don't language for something you're, just not going to think about it right, but once you have a word for it, you're going to go.

Oh wait! Hey i'm. Doing that thing right i'm mind reading i'm like projecting into and so having a word allows us to have more awareness. When you have more awareness, you can catch it. Okay, so giving it a name, creates more awareness, and when you have awareness, then you can start catching it and it's, not right in the moment you can start catching it after, even like not even until your next therapy session.

The next time you sit down and journal yeah, then gradually you can bring that closer and closer to that event. When you're doing it and then hopefully catch yourself right before you do it and say: oh, that's.

What i want to do this is how i want to talk to myself right yep and, if you think about it, that's, how any process of skill acquisition works. It's, always like slow and awkward at first, and you're only catching stuff after you know, if you think about like practicing scales on the piano or swinging a golf club or baking, something i don't know.

Whatever it is, you always feel slow, like you always feel like you're playing catch-up, but if you stick with it, it gets a little bit faster and you get more and more to the point where you cannotice it in the moment.

So i was trying to remind people, even if you're, even if you're, getting frustrated because you're, catching it later after the fact that's, okay, that's normal in every Area of life: this is how we learn right.

We're slow and it takes a while. So don't give up just because you don't catch it in the moment that's, not bad. That's, not a bad sign that's totally normal. You're, like all of us like trying to learn anything right, and so that's good.

If, even if you can & # 39, t catch it until your next therapy session or a couple hours afterwards, that's, fine, the more you catch it um a day later, the easier it's, gonna be to catch it. An hour later, the more you catch it an hour later, the more you're gonna catch it.

You know five minutes later and pretty soon you'll, start to be able to catch it more in the moment, which is really the sweet spot, because if you can catch it in the moment, you can actually influence it and go a different direction.

Right, which is that's, the holy grail like that's. What we all want to get to right, yeah yeah. So how do we do that right? So we & # 39. Ve got this habitual pattern. We've, been doing it, maybe our whole lives.

Maybe we were spoken to this way as kids right, like our parents, maybe said. Oh, you're, a failure. You're, an idiot or you're gonna fail or stop that you're, so stupid or you know labeling or this talk, and then we develop this habit of internal self-talk and that we're.

Trying to change it. This is like, like bushwhacking neural pathways, that's like combining a couple of things, but right like we can change our brain, but it takes a while to beat these new pathways into our brain right.

So how do we do that? How do we start changing our self-talk? So first thing you mentioned is like get a name for it, find out a name, learn about these cognitive distortions, um and then start being aware of them start noticing them, and then, if you can catch them soon enough, you can rewrite them right, exactly yep the Kind of next, like intermediary step, there is starting to be aware not just of these patterns, of thinking these distortions, but triggers right.

Certain things in your environment, certain people, certain ways of talking certain things that happen to you are going to be especially triggering of certain patterns of self-talk. So if you can anticipate those triggers, you're, going to be much more likely to catch them.

Like if you just know that um, you know on like thursday afternoons, like my boss is always super stressed because of some meeting she has and she's, just more likely to kind of say something biting or insensitive.

If you know that going into your thursday meeting with her it's, not going to surprise you, and so you're, not going to be as flustered. If you see it coming, it's a lot easier to anticipate it and to deal with it.

Well, that makes so much that that's such a important thing to remember - because i forget about that - a lot like this triggers things, maybe as as a woman, i can say this but like i think it's, important to track Your periods, because, right before your period, that is when my negative is like.

Oh my gosh, you are a terrible human being and if i could be like oh, this is probably at that point in my cycle. I'm just gonna ignore that until i feel better, i talk about with my female clients all the time.

Actually that comes up a lot um, so it's super super common and that's. That's, just as meaningful as triggers as anything else, so that's. So if you've done kind of those like i first of all identify know that, like hey self-talk is a thing i tend to talk to myself.

Sometimes it's, not always super helpful. There are these specific modes of talking to myself right. If i can give those a name they're like oh, there goes my mind. Reading right or oh, there goes my label whatever it is.

You can catch it more easily if you're aware of the kinds of triggers like situations in your environment or your life, for certain people, where those unhelpful styles of thinking are more common, you can anticipate them right, which makes you you can adapt Better, you can be a little bit faster, instead of being kind of behind the curve, all the time yeah.

Then. I think that the next step is to you to realize, just because a thought is the first one that comes into my mind that doesn't, give it any like special value just because it's. First doesn't mean it's more correct or that i should think more about it or like it's, just the first one.

It's, just the first one to happen to show up. So that is super super important, because if you can do that, if you can recognize like okay, it's, the first one and not give any special priority to it.

It opens the door to the mo in some ways what's? The most important step, which is generating alternatives, alternative stories for what something means right so yeah. I lose my temper and like raise my voice and my daughter right something like that.

If my first thought is, like god, you're, a terrible dad like she's, gonna end up in therapy for the rest of her life, because you're awful um. If that's, my first thought - and i just assume okay, that's.

True well now that's. Gon na lead me down this very unhelpful path of thinking, which is like. Oh, i'm, a terrible dad like all this stuff is going to go bad like blah blah blah blah blah and then, of course, i'm going to feel awful yep.

I'm, not going to be able to help the situation like my daughter, because i'm feeling so bad right. On the other hand, if i can catch that initial thought and say, okay, wait! Wait a second here like really like you're, a terrible dad because, god forbid, you lost your temper once and raised your voice a little bit.

I don't think so, like the action was not helpful right, but that does not invalidate me as a person or as a parent right, so an another sort of story or way of looking at that. Well, one is exactly what i said like just because one specific action does not define me as a person right or i might say something like you know.

I i regret doing that. But you know all parents lose their cool, sometimes um it doesn't. You know like it happens to everybody right. That would be another sort of interpretation of things like it's, not that abnormal right, um or or even another.

One might be like you know what like i, i don't like that. I sort of yelled at my daughter, but actually it's, important for her to see that if she does certain things right that aren't that are against the rules or that if she's like mean to her Sister right, that has consequences like people like it's.

Okay, for her to see me getting angry, sometimes in response to what she does. That itself is not so these are all examples of different stories or if you prefer sort of different theories for what something means yeah.

I love that because not only are we questioning a little bit our thinking and that we can, we can put out five or six alternative ways of describing or making stories about what happened. But then we can ask ourselves which one's true and which one's helpful and i think sometimes, when someone's like really depressed or really anxious, asking that first question can be hard which one'S true like someone who's really depressed like? Is it true that you're, a terrible horrible, hopeless human being and they'll be like? Well, i think so.

But if you ask, is it helpful to believe that you're, a terrible human being? Does that help you get out of bed in the morning? No, that does not help right so so asking either of those questions can help people like challenge their thinking and take something like a little bit more action right, yep yeah, i i like selfie, if you're struggling with that, if you're like well, i just can't, think of anything that's more true, or that's, more helpful doesn't matter.

Literally, anything is better than just having one story and going with it. Even if the other things you generate are completely bonkers and off the wall right, that's at least a step in the right direction.

You're, getting a little bit more flexible with your thinking and that's really important, because how we feel emotionally flows directly from how we think and in particular how we talk to ourselves. So if you're, stuck in one particular way of talking to yourself that's, really unhelpful and and overly negative, for instance, you're, going to be stuck feeling that way, and your only hope of getting out of That is, if you can flex things if you can get a little bit more flexible, right, yeah.

The other kind of i would say, maybe third approach to negative self-talk, which is you don't, have to challenge it or even develop um sort of alternative theories, and you don't necessarily just have to redirect and think about something Else, the other thing you can do is what we sort of therapists and mental health professionals call self-compassion, which i have mixed feelings about, because i i love the idea of self-compassion is super important.

I feel, like the phrase, turns a lot of people off, so i'm gonna try and explain it in a very straightforward way, which is when we're struggling. We feel bad for something say. We're, worried about something most of us.

I think our self-talk tends to be pretty intense. It tends to be a little harsh, often judgmental if you were to kind of describe like the quality of your inner narrator. I think words like that would come up a lot like we're, very tough on ourselves in a lot of ways.

Oh yeah, i think most people are a lot harder on themselves than on anyone else in their lives. Well and that's, the big irony right, like we're so hard on ourselves and yet like in the next breath. We can be amazingly like compassionate and empathetic and supportive when, like our best friend who's struggling with the exact same thing comes to us, like we're like this model of empathy and support for this other person in our life And we're, we're just like awful to ourselves right.

We're, super harsh and critical, and judgmental so this idea of self-compassion. If that sounds fancy, all it means is learning to treat yourself like you would treat a friend who is struggling. So when you & # 39, re struggling right, just applying the same, not having a double standard, applying the same standard of support and empathy that you would apply to someone else who you cared about and learning to apply that to yourself and that that's totally okay and actually turns out secret.

It works a lot better than being super hard on yourself, um and so what? But at the end of the day, what i tell people is don't, take my word for it just experiment with it a little bit yeah for a week.

Try treating yourself when you struggle, like you, would treat a friend if it doesn't work or it leads you to becoming a completely irresponsible terrible person. Fine give it up you don't have to stick with it right, but just try it out for like a week and see what happens yeah.

I just encourage people to experiment with treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend and that ends up being a really powerful in the long run, a really powerful antidote to this problem of overly harsh negative, judgmental self-talk, and that takes us like right back To the beginning, right, you're.

Talking about this is like almost like a relationship right. You talk to your buddies in one way. You talk to your grandma in another way. How we talk to ourselves changes how we feel it really impacts our emotions and if we can be a little bit flexible and be a little bit curious and maybe experiment with some different ways of talking to ourselves, try it for a week right.

Try being gentle to yourself, like you, would be with a friend and see if that you know, impacts how you feel impacts how you act makes your life a little bit better, exactly exactly yeah it's really about relationships.

You just you do what you would do with any important relationship in your life like why not foster that same kind of relationship with yourself, i think, is, is the way to look at this and, i think, ends up being the most helpful in the long run.

I would agree with you, i would agree with you. Is there anything else you want to share as we wrap this up it? Actually it's, something you mentioned. I think maybe a good place to end. Is this idea that if you tend to be really harsh and judgmental with yourself another option, is you can be curious with yourself like when you notice yourself feeling angry right or um, overly personalizing, something you can step back and instead of saying like oh yeah, i


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