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Tips to silence your inner critic — and feel better

Most of us have that nasty little voice in our heads, the one that seems to criticize constantly: “I can never lose weight,” “Boy, was that stupid,” “Who would want to hang out with me?”

Unfortunately, that kind of negative self-talk can lead to depression, unsuccessful relationships, and poor health. How can you silence your inner critic?

  1. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend. If your friends don’t deserve to be insulted or spoken to in a rude or nasty way, neither do you.
  2. When you catch yourself criticizing or insulting yourself, write down what you just said in your head. Seeing it on a piece of paper will make it more obvious to you how negative and possibly damaging your thoughts really are.
  3. Spend more time off of social media—research has proven that exposure to social media can increase self-criticism, probably because most people go to so much trouble to present their lives in a perfect or positive way on social media. Instead of comparing yourself to unrealistic perceptions, spend some time tuning in to yourself ,how you feel , and what you think.
  4. If you’re a visual thinker, imagine yourself putting your negative thoughts into a box. A tiny box. This will help you see the actual size of the problem and realize that you can take it on or move on.
  5. Instead of positive thinking, try possible thinking. When you’re feeling down or blue, it can be really hard to think sunshiny, positive thoughts. So instead, try thinking neutrally or factually. Instead of thinking “I’m as big as a cow,” think, “I’d like to lose 10 pounds. I can make a plan to do it.” Then seek out facts that will give you choices and a direction you can go in.
  6. Try rephrasing yourself. It’s amazing what a small change in words can do. Instead of saying, “I’m never going to get this done” and giving up, challenge yourself by changing it to, “I’m thinking that I’m never going to get it done.” That little change makes you step back for a minute and reminds you that your feel-bad moment is just that: a moment. Instead of saying, “I’m so stupid,” say “I feel stupid.” There’s a significant difference because the latter describes a feeling instead of describing what you think you are.

If you feel like you’re suffering from depression or anxiety–or you’re just not feeling yourself, please call Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800. We can help you decide the best path to take to recovery.  And we can connect you with support and resources so you can get back to enjoying your life.