Challenging Negative Self Talk (+3 Types)


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Page last updated: 13/09/2022

Challenging Negative Self Talk (+3 Types)

In this article, we will look at different ways of challenging negative self talk. This article also explores the four types of negative self talk, its toxic effects and ways to overcome it.

Challenging Negative Self Talk 

Challenging negative self talk is vital to shut down the ruthless critic inside you from unnecessarily bogging you down on the road to progress. Every person, including you has an inner voice and for some people this inner voice is more of a ruthless critic, constantly conjuring up negative self talk, and it is therefore very vital to consciously shift your thinking pattern if you have such negative self talk patterns.

For most people this negative self-talk isn’t their fault because this self-talk (voices in your head) may be the voices of your parents or caregivers and are the introjects given to you in your early childhood. However, breaking the cycle is solely incumbent upon you if you wish to live a happy and content life.

Challenging negative self-talk is absolutely a ‘challenge’ in itself, however, the results are extremely rewarding because you finally get to be liberated from that ugly critic shaming and blaming you, from somewhere inside of you. 

Most people do not realize but it is very important to speak kindly to yourself. Even if it is the voice inside your head, you are not completely helpless as some people think because you can question that voice in your head, and who knows it might stop bugging you eventually.

The Four Types of Negative Self Talk

Here are the 4 types of negative self talk you should look out for:


Filtering amplifies the negative effects of an event or situation while removing or literally filtering out all of the positive elements. Any success, no matter how big or small, has the possibility of being overshadowed by the negative. Life would be so much more fulfilling once you decide to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

When you catch yourself filtering, make a list of all that have gone well lately. You’ll gradually learn that things aren’t as bad as they appear or maybe as bad as your negative self talk makes them appear..


When you polarize, you just see everything as bad or good. There is no such thing as a middle ground. It’s the idea that you’ll have to be flawless or else you’ll be a complete mess. You must handle yourself with compassion in these instances. 

Remind yourself that you’re still human if you don’t do anything exactly the way it is supposed to be done or maybe there is no ‘exact’ way for things to be done. Try being more flexible with yourself. You have the freedom to make decisions based on your current needs.

Challenging Negative Self Talk (+3 Types)


When you’re personalizing, you’re actually saying to yourself, “It’s not them, it’s me.” You immediately blame yourself when something negative happens. Take a look back the very next time you think like you’re to blame when something turns out badly or feels out of the ordinary.

Take a deep breath and examine the situation from another perspective. There might be some other, more practical explanations for why you haven’t heard from your friends? You realize your friends love you so what must be other more plausible reasons you have not yet heard from them?

Personalizing can be resolved by reality testing. Simply take a pause and ask yourself these two questions:

  • Is there any proof to back up this assumption of mine?
  • Is the thought true, or is it merely an assumption of mine?


Finally the worst kind of negative self talk i.e. catastrophizing. 

When someone predicts the worst possible outcome, they are by all means catastrophizing. It frequently involves thinking you’re in a much worse situation than you seem to be or amplifying and exaggerating the troubles you’re facing. For example, somebody might be concerned that they will fail an exam, even though they prepared moderately for it.

When you catastrophize, you immediately expect the worst to happen. Suppose the train you’re on stops underground on the way to work, and you think you’ll be trapped for hours.Is it possible for a train to be stuck for hours? And, even though it does, won’t you be fine either way? This is another case where stepping back and seeing things for what they are can be beneficial.

These questions can help you deal whenever you find yourself stuck with catastrophizing negative self talk:

  • What is the probability of this outcome to happen?
  • What are the other possible outcomes that can result from this situation?

The Toxic Effects of negative Self Talk

Here are a few of the many toxic effects of negative self talk (and its an

  • Negative self talk makes you less confident and lacking in self-esteem
  • It pushes you to shrink, hide, and settle for less
  • Negative self talk not only impairs you connection with yourself but also with others 
  • It may silence your voice by making you believe that your voice doesn’t matter
  • It induces boredom and predictability by forcing you to play it safe and never try new things or take risks
  • Anxiety levels are elevated because negative self talk has you living in constant fear
  • At the end of your life, you may have regrets because your negative self talk had you miss out on so much

Overcoming Negative Self Talk

Here are some common examples of negative self talk or what I call defeatist self talk vs optimistic or (growth) self talk. 

Negative (Defeatist) Self TalkOptimistic (Growth) Self Talk
This is something I’ve never done.This is a chance to broaden my horizons.
This is too complex.I’ll try to approach it from a different perspective.
This won’t work out.I will try to make it work.
I am a total loser.I have learned so many lessons from my mistakes.
I really hate this feeling.My feelings are valid.
No one will ever love me because (insert random reason)I am worthy and deserving of love just the way I am.

You may learn from this how the very same situations or things seem from these two different perspectives and try to consciously switch your perspective to facilitate your growth and healing.

Challenging Negative Self Talk

Here is a quick simple guide on how to start working on challenging your negative self talk:

  • Breathe
  • Pay attention to your internal monologue 
  • Hold the thought and question your inner voice
  • Gradually replace the negative self talk with positive self talk
  • Look for your triggers and work on them 
  • Seek therapy if you feel like you can’t manage on your own

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this article, we looked at different ways of challenging negative self talk. This article also explored the four types of negative self talk, its toxic effects and ways to overcome it.

Frequently Asked Questions: Challenging Negative Self Talk

How do you challenge negative self-talk?

How to Challenge Negative Self-Talk
Get a hold of the critic.
Remember your thoughts aren’t always true.
Make a nickname for your inner critic.
Keep The Negativity in Check.
Investigate The Inner Critic in Depth.
Consider it from the perspective of a friend.
Change your point of view.
Make it a point to say it out loud.

What are the four different forms of negative self-talk?

Negative self-talk is challenging and it can take several different ways. Personalizing, filtering, catastrophizing, and polarizing are the four major ones, according to Mayo Clinic.

How does negative thinking affect the brain?

Negative thinking will harm your brain and raise your chances of developing dementia. Repeated negative thoughts, according to research, will raise the risk of dementia. They pointed out that in a new survey, people who had a lot of negative thoughts had more cognitive loss and memory issues.

What is negative and positive self talk?

Self-talk that is positive helps you feel confident about yourself and the events of your life. It’s as if you have a positive voice in your mind that still sees the light side of things. Negative self-talk is known to make people unhappy and may also hinder their healing from mental health issues.

Can negative thinking change?

In social and performance contexts, negative thinking leads to anxiety. Understanding how you think today (and the challenges that result) is the secret to overcoming your pessimistic feelings. From there, you can use tactics to alter your thoughts to make them have less influence.

What are the side effects of negative thinking?

Chronic stress is caused by negative behaviors and feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness, which disrupts the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals needed for pleasure, and weakens the immune system.

Can negative thinking cause mental illness?

While everybody has negative thoughts from time to time, negative thinking that has a significant impact on how you think of yourself and the environment, and also interferes with work/study and daily life, may be a symptom of a psychiatric disease such as depression, anxiety disorders, or personality disorder.

Can negative thinking make you sick?

While some stress is beneficial to our welfare, too many can be harmful. Negative emotions slow metabolism and weaken the immune system’s capacity to combat inflammation for long periods of time. This is also why pessimists are more likely than optimists to get ill.

Can negative thoughts cause inflammation?

Presently, researchers from Pennsylvania State University in State College have discovered that negative moods alter the immune response’s activity and are linked to an elevated risk of increased inflammation.


Mayo Mindfulness: Overcoming negative self-talk

The Effects of Negative Self-Talk and How to Stop it