Do you often find yourself in a vicious cycle of self-blame? Even when you have achieved good things, you are already waiting for the shoe to drop and something bad to happen.
If so, you're not alone. Many people struggle with self-critical thoughts, and it can be incredibly difficult to break out of this pattern.
It won’t matter what you are doing or the degree of success you have achieved; a self-critical mindset can ruin even your best days, making you question your existence. So, the question is, “how do you break out of that cycle?”
Fortunately, you can use tools and techniques to stop these thoughts and develop a more positive mindset. One such tool is Neuro Linguistic programming, otherwise known as NLP. It is a method of communication and personal development that helps you identify your critical thoughts, reprogram your mind, and shift your focus towards a more positive thought process.
This blog will explore the top tips to stop negative thoughts with NLP and how you can implement these techniques in your life.
What are Signs of Self-Critical Thoughts?
We often find it difficult to distinguish the self-critical thoughts that swirl in our minds. If I had to explain it simply, think of your inner critic but more brutal.
Some of the common excerpts of self-critical thoughts are:
- Even when you do well, it’s not enough.
- When you assume something will go wrong, it 100% will.
- If you are somewhere beautiful, you probably don’t fit there.
- If you voice your opinion, you will sound dumb.
- If you don’t hustle, something bad will happen.
- If you deny someone, they will hate you.
These are some examples of recurring thoughts that will most likely cloud your brain. These ramblings from your inner critic might come in handy at times. However, in most cases, they are discouraging and will prevent you from achieving big things.
This is where you need to leverage the use of NLP techniques to let go of these thoughts and make space for positive thinking.
Stop Self-Critical Thoughts using NLP Mindset
NLP involves various techniques like reframing, visualization, dissociation, etc. This section of the article will explore some of the most effective NLP techniques you can use to stop the critical thinking gushing through your mind.
1. Recognize your self-talk – Meta Modeling
The first step to stopping negative self-talk is recognizing when your inner critic is at its peak. When do you start criticizing yourself the most? What kinds of actions or achievements trigger them?
Pay close attention to the things you say to yourself in your mind. Are you constantly berating yourself and calling yourself a failure? Are you always looking for the worst in a situation?
Once you start to recognize these negative self-talk patterns, you can start to take action to change them.
2. Challenge your self-talk - Reframing
Once you identify your negative self-talk, the next step is to challenge it. Whenever a negative thought appears in your mind, question its existence.
For example, if you think, “I am not good enough,” instead of wallowing and believing it, counteract and ask yourself, “Is it true? If yes, then why? If not, then why?”
In most cases, these negative thoughts have no evidence backing the “claims and thoughts.” For most people, their brain is so wired into thinking the worst in the situation that negative thoughts become a habit.
3. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations – Anchoring
Once you have challenged your negative self-thoughts, the next step is to replace them with positive affirmations.
Instilling your mind with positive affirmations is a great way to reinforce positive beliefs about yourself. Let me give you an example.
The next time you think, “I am not good enough,” replace that thought with, “I am capable and deserving of success.” If you want to affirm these thoughts more strongly, write them down in your journal. You can stand in front of a mirror and repeat these affirmations daily to yourself to reinforce them over time.
4. Use visualization techniques – Visualization
Visualization is another powerful NLP technique that can help you stop self-critical thoughts.
Pretty much all of us, despite our negative and critical thoughts, have a vision and goal that we are working towards. NLP’s Visualization technique focuses on creating a mental image of what you want to achieve in your life. It is about focusing on that mental image until it becomes a reality.
For example, let’s say you have a presentation at work tomorrow, and your mind is filled with self-doubt. Visualize yourself killing the presentation with confidence and getting all the praise. Focusing and visualizing a positive outcome helps divert your mind from negative and self-critical thoughts.
5. Practice Mindfulness – Awareness
The last NLP technique that I personally swear by is Mindfulness. It is the practice of being in the present and staying fully engaged in the current moment.
The more aware you become, the easier it becomes for you to stop your self-critical thoughts. Mindfulness also works as a great tool to help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.
When you notice negative self-talk creeping in, try to take a moment to be present and acknowledge the thought without judgment. Practicing this will eventually help you let go of the negative thoughts and shift your focus on the present.