Professional Development

3 Exercises to Eliminate Negative Self-Talk

In this article, we share three exercises that will help you eliminate negative self-talk and persevere through overcoming adversity.

What we think ultimately influences what we do.


If we think positive thoughts, we typically get positive outcomes.

But when we think negatively—what ends up happening?


It seems to bleed into our day, our lives, and our relationships.


Negative self-talk, or “head trash,” can strike at any moment.

I don’t feel like doing this today.” “They never answer the phone.” “Things never go my way.” “I’m tired.


These types of thoughts seem to have a way of creeping in.


But the truth is, we all do have a little voice in our heads. According to the National Science Foundation, “an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.


If we repeat those negative thoughts, we think many more negative thoughts than we think positive thoughts! Crazy, right? 


80% of our thoughts are negative. So, what’s the positive here?


The next time you struggle to relate to someone, remember, we all have head trash! It’s something we all have to work to overcome. In positions where we have a high number of interactions with others, like in sales and customer service, it’s very easy to carry head trash around.


But remember, we all have a choice on where—or whether—we carry our head trash. We can choose to internalize it and allow it to ruin our day, or we can simply acknowledge the thought and move on. 


Having a “Bad Hair Day”


When I first started in sales, my sales manager warned me about head trash. He said some days I’d feel down or rejected, and that I might not feel like going out to cold call. He said, “some days, you just don’t ‘feel it.’ I call it a bad hair day.”


This phrase has stuck with me over the years and is a perfect way to describe difficult days. These are also the perfect days to call your business coach or mentor so they can help you work through it!


3 Exercises to Eliminate Negative Self-Talk


Now that we’ve explored the impact, the following are three ways to eliminate negative self-talk.


Don’t Keep Head Trash Inside


As you work to get rid of negative self-talk in your life, remember: it’s important NOT to keep it inside of you!


Remember, we all have it. That doesn’t mean we need to listen to it! 


For simple thoughts, it’s easy to say, “thank you, Mind, for sharing” and move on. But some head trash is more difficult to eliminate. Some days are light head trash and other days are full-blown bad hair days.


Exercise #1: Write It Out


Step 1:


First, grab a pen and paper. You might consider having a notebook specifically for this activity. 

Step 2:

List every negative thought you have. Once you’ve listed everything down, don’t stop. Dig deeper and write more thoughts about:

  • Your fears
  • Your insecurities
  • Your losses
  • Things that stress you out regularly
  • Things that irritate you about other people

Step 3:

Make another column or a separate list.

Now, for every negative thought, write at least one positive thought.

  • If you fear failure, write one instance when failure helped you to learn a lesson.
  • If you’re insecure about your skills, write how much you’ve improved since you started.
  • If you’ve lost a relationship in the past, write about the beautiful time you spent with each other.
  • If you stress about work, write how your work is serving other people.
  • If you don’t like your coworker’s behavior, write down one positive thing about that person.

[This exercise was adapted from this article.]

Exercise #2: Speak It Out (Alone)


Another great way to eliminate negative self-talk is by saying it out loud. By naming it and speaking out your negative thoughts, you’ll help to get rid of it. 


For this exercise, you’ll want a quiet, private place. 


If you used the previous exercise and write your thoughts down, you can use that list to speak out about what you’re trying to release. Or, simply close your eyes and speak out your head trash. 


Once you’ve named your frustrations, move forward by feeling, framing, and releasing these thoughts and feelings.


If you’re feeling frustrated, frame it. Say, “I feel frustrated because there never seems to be enough time in the day.


Next, note how you feel physically. My chest feels tight because of my frustration.


Lastly, release it with positive action. Many people enjoy breathing exercises, but some of us—do not so much. If breathing isn’t your thing, focus on positive action. “I don’t want to feel frustrated about my lack of time anymore. I release this frustration and will ask Sarah for help.


Exercise #3: Speak It Out (With a Boss
or Mentor)


Sometimes our head trash needs a little extra attention—it all depends on the day and situation.


If you’re struggling in your relationship with your sister, the best person you can talk to is your sister!


If you’re having a hard time with a friend, the best person to talk to is that friend.


Similarly, if you’re struggling to hit your goals or are feeling down about the way prospects have been responding to you, the best person to talk to is your sales manager, boss, business coach, or mentor. They can help coach you through the situation.


When you seek help, be sure to communicate what you’re struggling with. Something like, “I feel like I’m failing my staff, can we talk through it?” will help set the conversation on the right path.


Download Our eBook


As you work to eliminate negative self-talk, I encourage you to download a copy of our complimentary guide, Overcoming Adversity & Negative Self-Talk. It includes the three exercises mentioned here, plus more! Get more info here or click on the image below to download your copy.


Complimentary eBook: Overcoming Adversity & Negative Self-Talk

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