Darn That Pesky Negative Self-Talk!
Today, I was writing My Story and I felt a rush of negative thoughts and emotions.
No one is going to read this blog.
Sharing your story will worsen the stigma you face.
Once you have experienced psychosis, no one thinks you have any valuable thoughts about anything.
I hope no one from my past reads this and decides to do something horrible with what I have written.
I’m being too vulnerable. I should stick to robotic facts without feeling and personality included.
How am I going to write something valuable for my peers?
This is probably going to be a giant flop and one more failure.
I’m not going to get the job I interviewed for today because I have been a hermitess for-like ever.
I suck at being likeable because I have been a self-analysis robot for a long time.
I felt a lot of distress about what I was feeling and experiencing. That distress prompted me to dig out my old Acceptance and Commitment Therapy workbook and flip to the information on negative beliefs and self-talk.
What is the Goal of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives. With this understanding, clients begin to accept their issues and hardships and commit to making necessary changes in their behavior, regardless of what is going on in their lives, and how they feel about it.Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Psychology Today. Retrieved June 24, 2021 from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy | Psychology Today
Take a Different Perspective to Defeat Negative Self-Talk
What I learned in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is that I don’t have to abandon projects or goals just because I feel a rush of negative emotions and thoughts. In fact, abandoning projects and goals early has stunted my ability to be successful and leads to a vicious circle of trying and then giving up and then feeling awful, which leads to worsened periods of depression.
So, I took each thought, and I thanked my brain for trying to be my friend as it is designed to alert me to signs of danger. It sounds corny as hell, but it works!
You can also observe that thought and say:
I’m having a thought that X…
The thought can be true or not, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is your perspective. When your brain is feeding you negative self-talk, it feels like this information is coming from your core personality, but it isn’t. In reality, your brain is just trying to limit suffering and danger. Sometimes it blows things out of proportion.
When you say that you are having the thought that something is happening or about to happen, you put space between that statement and that part of your brain that is just trying to look out for you. Basically, another part of your brain comes online and says
Hey, wait a minute. This could be a good experience.
The more you use these skills, the less likely you are to suffer from negative self-talk in your everyday life. The only time I generally experience negative self-talk is when I feel vulnerable, when I am beginning a new project, or when I am depressed.
ACT has helped me to defeat negative self-talk when it pops up, and I hope it helps you too!
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