How Toxic Is Your Self-Talk?

When you’re new to detox, you might be thinking about how to clear up your skin or resolve nagging health issues. But a detox-centered lifestyle can lead to a multidimensional healing process. When you start taking steps to cleanse and heal your body, your mind is sure to follow. After all, the mind-body connection is central to a holistic approach to greater wellness.

Most of us deal with an inner critic to varying degrees. A critical parent, teacher, or early life caregiver can become internalized as a component of negative self-talk. And if your self-talk is persistently or particularly bleak, this can harm your mood, physical health, and quality of life as years pass. If you have a habit of negative self-talk, you might find that your self-directed mental chatter can be shockingly mean at times. It can be helpful to self-reflect on any ongoing negative mental patterns you might be dealing with. Surely, you deserve the same amount of kindness that you communicate to others, right?

Your Brain Has A Negativity Bias

Here’s the thing: Human beings tend to focus more on negative events than positive ones. This is called a negativity bias. The fact that you mind trips you up at the slightest perception of rejection or failure really isn’t your fault. As humans evolved, our brains became highly attuned to possible dangers in our environment. And while you’re not likely to encounter the same threats that your distant ancestors did, chronic stress, painful life experiences, and trauma can all contribute to dreary mental loops that can be hard to shake. The good news is, you can train your brain to function differently.

Mindfulness practices and meditation teach us to observe our thoughts, and a good therapist can also assist with this process. Once you start noticing what your internal dialogue is made of, you can start tracking how those thoughts make you feel. Essentially, any kind of internalized shame can show up as toxic self-talk. Even if you think that your less-than-friendly self-talk is keeping you motivated or on-task to succeed, it can be helpful to notice the emotions that your inner dialogue is producing in you. Feelings of shame, fear, dread, or low self-esteem can mean that it’s time to rewire how you talk to yourself. Bottom line: You deserve better.

You Can Heal Your Mental Chatter

Even though your brain has an innate tendency to dwell on negative events, you can cultivate greater mental positivity with practice. And no, positive self-talk is not about denying your painful emotions or difficult life experiences. It is about creating a nurturing inner atmosphere that strengthens you and helps you recover more quickly from life’s inevitable setbacks. Think of it this way: When you learn to speak to yourself in loving and encouraging ways, you create a space within yourself where you can heal more deeply from the traumas you’ve experienced.

You have the power to make new meaning out of your challenges. This is called cognitive reframing. When you reframe a painful life event, you don’t deny loss or pain that you’ve faced, but you learn to give equal weight to any good that perhaps came out of that experience. Are you stronger, more resilient, and more self-aware now? When you train yourself to focus on the positive aspects of your life, this can help you cope more effectively when the going gets rough.

Words Have Power. Proceed Mindfully

Words have the power to either heal or harm. When you start to mind your mind, you may find that you become more attuned to how words, both spoken and unspoken, feel when you think or say them. Mindful speech, combined with the process of healing your self-talk, can transform your understanding of the power of words. Further, when you use words to support, encourage, and help both yourself and others, you can become a more peaceful, loving, and joyful person.

Uncertainties are a part of life. Healing your self-talk won’t make you immune to hardships and negative emotions. But when challenges do come, you get to shape the narrative into one that’s more life-affirming, strength-promoting, and empowering over time.


1 comment

I’m really trying to mindful of my negative self talk. I hear it when I say it. The other day, I even stayed that nothing good had come out if my life. My daughter said, “what about me?” Ugh! I’m pretty toxic. This year has been one for the records, but I have also taken advantage of learning new things. Plus, I’m doing the monthly self care, so 2020 is not all bad after all.

Danielle July 15, 2021

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