9 Negative Self-Talk Pitfalls to Avoid

May is Mental Health Awareness month and we would like to take this opportunity to talk about types of negative self-talk that many people, including caregivers, can unconsciously slip into, affecting their view of themselves and their worth as a person or parent. The following are categories of common negative self-talk pitfalls--and ways you can readjust to a more positive mindset. Once you begin to recognize your own negative self-talk and learn to spin the situation positively --or strengths based-- you can help your kids change their mindsets as well!


Catastrophizing

What it is: You believe the worst will happen in any given scenario, even if it is not likely.

What you may think: “My daughter hasn’t called at the agreed time five minutes ago. Something terrible must have happened to her!”

Reframe your thinking: “My daughter probably is busy right now, but she will call me when she can. I'll give her ten more minutes before I call her.”


Emotional reasoning

What it is: You believe what you’re feeling is a reflection of the truth.

What you may think: “I feel inadequate, so I must be worthless.”

Reframe your thinking: “Sometimes, my feelings do not reflect the truth.”


Fortune telling

What it is: You predict a negative outcome without considering evidence or facts that support that outcome.

What you may think: “My teenager is starting to drive. He is going to get in an accident and injure himself!”

Reframe your thinking: “My teenager is starting to drive. I trust that he learned good driving habits and will be responsible when out on the road.”


Over Generalization

What it is: When you view a negative event and conclude it justifies a never ending pattern of negativity and defeat. Often, you find yourself using words such as “always”, “never”, “everything” or “nothing”.

What you may think: “My son got a bad grade at school. Now he’ll never be able to go to a good college.”

Reframe your thinking: “Sometimes, bad grades happen. How can I help my son improve for the future?”


Should Statements

What it is: You make statements about what you “should” be doing that hold yourself to unattainable standards or put unreasonable expectations upon yourself.

What you may think: “I should cook a healthy, organic meal every meal.”

Reframe your thinking: “If I have time and the energy, I will cook healthy meals, but I know it is also okay if every meal isn’t perfect--just getting food in my kids’ tummies is the most important thing.”



All-or-nothing

What it is: You view the world or situation only in terms of extremes; everything is black or white, good or bad. There is no in between or spectrum.

What you may think: “I forgot to pick up what my son wanted at the grocery store. I am a bad mother.”

Reframe your thinking: “Mistakes can happen, but they don’t diminish my worth as a parent.”


Labeling

What it is: You reduce yourself to a characteristic based on a single event or behavior.

What you may think: “I didn’t do anything today, so I am lazy.”

Reframe your thinking: “Today, I recharged so that I can be ready to go for tomorrow.”


Mind reading

What it is: You assume that you know what others are thinking.

What you may think: “My toddler is throwing a fit at the store and I can’t get her to stop. Everyone must think I am incapable and a bad mom.”

Reframe your thinking: “Other people understand that toddlers have tantrums. I have not done anything wrong.”


Personalization

What it is: You assume that it is your responsibility or you are to blame for circumstances that are not your fault or out of your control.

What you may think: “My daughter didn’t like her food tonight. I must be a bad cook.”

Reframe your thinking: “Kids can be picky eaters. And one meal does not define my abilities.”




One helpful way that to recognize these types--and more--of negative thinking is asking yourself if your thinking is rooted in facts? Is there hard evidence that what you think is undeniably true? If you can’t say yes to those questions, then you likely have fallen into negative thought pitfall --or cycle.


Recognizing these negative thoughts, and then making the conscious effort to shift the thoughts into fact-driven, positive thinking can help you be more accepting of yourself. The switch can take time, the important thing is recognizing the negative thoughts and knowing that when you have the capacity, you need to reframe your self-talk to get out of the negative thought cycle.


And remember, you are awesome, you are enough, and you are valued!


This week’s post was inspired by the Instagram account @theweightofwinning.


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