Positive thinking is useless against negative self-talk

by Heather Thatcher

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Positive thinking is useless against negative self-talk. 

But this idea is what’s floating around the internet and social media right now, isn’t it? People are talking about using positive affirmations and faking it until you make it.

There’s also the idea of planting a seed of positivity and allowing it to grow.

But if that worked then every person who is chanting “I am enough” would silence their inner critic completely and have all the confidence in the world.

That’s not the case, though.

You see, we go through 95% of our day based on our habits, and that includes our mental habits and emotional reactions. This means that many of us are going through life in default survival mode where our self-talk and mental filters provide the rules for our habits that our brain follows. 

So if you’re self-talk is saying that you’re stupid or not good at something, even if you say “I am smart and capable” your brain is going to look at that thought and say “nope, doesn’t agree with the habit program” and dismiss it. 

Learn more about yourself by discovering your three core emotional values

Think of it this way.

If you were to step into an ice-bath, no matter how many times you tell yourself “the water’s warm, the water’s warm, the water’s warm” – nothing’s going to change.

That water is still going to be ice-cold! Your body is going to keep receiving feedback from the water that it’s freaking freezing and dismiss the thought that “the water’s warm.”

The same thing happens with your mind and your self-talk.

Your subconscious mind is a magnet that remembers information that agrees with your core beliefs and self-talk habits and forgets or dismisses any information that goes against this brain program.

So if you’re self-talk is telling you that you’re never good enough and that you can always do more – when you say something like “I am enough” your core beliefs release that because it doesn’t align with who you think you are.

It doesn’t matter how many times you say “I am enough” if your core beliefs keep releasing that statement because it doesn’t agree with what you believe about yourself.

Nothing is going to change if you don’t address the brain-based habit.

Trying to reframe everything to be less negative and constantly repeat positive affirmations to yourself because it goes against our wiring in our brain.

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If you want to banish negative self-talk and self-doubt, you have to reprogram your subconscious mind.

You have to reprogram your mental habits.

Then instead of having your brain searching for all the information proving that you’re not enough, it will start to search for evidence that already exists in your life that shows you are smart, strong and capable.

It’s not magic or any woo-woo law of attraction stuff.

It’s science.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the gold standard of modern psychology and has been researched again and again, every time proving to be an effective method for creating positive change.

More recently there’s a new branch of this called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is something that I really resonate with.

In this model, you look to accept where you’re at right now and take radical responsibility for your life.

Now before you start to feel too much resistance over accepting radical responsibility for your life, I want to clarify something.

But taking responsibility for your life, I’m not saying that you accept the blame for allowing all of the horrible things that have happened to you.

No, you didn’t choose to have those painful experiences.

Accepting radical responsibility doesn’t mean that you’re accepting or assigning blame.

Responsibility means that you’re accepting your ability to respond.

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You, right now, are accepting the fact that where you are right is what it is.

Your past is in the past. It’s happened and everything has brought you here to be the foundation for the strong, resilient, empowered being you are capable of becoming.

This moment, right now, is your starting point.

Up until this point you were in default survival mode where your inner critic was making all the decisions. But no more.

From now on YOU are going to take control of your life.

YOU are going to choose how you are going to respond to your circumstances, how you’re going to respond to obstacles, to difficult people, to your triggers.

By accepting where you are and committing to getting out of default survival mode, that, my friend, is what’s going to be a game-changer for you.

Your life is yours to live.

And you are meant for more than just survival.

And that is what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies can do for you.

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Before I talk about one of the easiest ways you can start to identify your mental filters so you can start getting back in control of your life and take the reigns back from your inner critic, I want to quickly talk about this newer trend Neuro-linguistic Programming. 

It’s quite popular right now, and it’s trying to market itself as being this new fangled thing.

But when you get down to the principles of it – Neuro-linguistic Programming is just Cognitive Behavioural Therapy combined with specific guided meditation techniques – just under a different name.

The truth is the underlying methodology is exactly the same.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been highly researched, NLP is getting there but it’s not quite there yet so it’s still considered a pseudoscience. Still based on the same principles.

Now let’s talk about the meditation side of things. There is a TON of research that supports meditation for having benefits on your body, especially when it comes to lowering our stress.

So Neuro-linguistic Programming itself isn’t well researched, but both components are. 

I really like the combo because then you work on changing your habits and shifting your identity on both the conscious and subconscious levels, and so that is what I do with our tribe in the membership community and in all of my programs and coaching systems.

Alright, so let’s work on applying some of these strategies to your life.

In order to start reprogramming your subconscious mind, you have to first know what your emotional triggers are. In the last episode, we talked about the three aspects of the habit cycle and the same things apply for us when it comes to our self-talk and emotional reactions.

There is always a trigger that leads to our typical reaction which then creates consequences.

There’s a big difference here, though, because with physical habits we can see the habit cycle happening right in front of us and we have the opportunity to make a conscious choice in response to our trigger.

Take the first step to banishing negative self-talk with this free guided meditation

But when it comes to negative self-talk and emotional triggers, it all happens in a nanosecond in your brain. The trigger happens and in the blink of an eye your body starts pumping out the chemicals associated with your emotional reaction and you start to feel those strong emotions right away.

So when it comes to our emotional reactions and negative self-talk patterns, knowing our triggers is really important.

This helps bring it into the conscious side of our awareness and out of the subconscious reaction.

And that allows the calm, rational side of us to take the control back from our inner critic and the subconscious emotional freight train that zips away with your strong emotional reaction with you hanging on the outside completely unable to stop it.

But when we know and acknowledge our triggers, instead of zipping away on that emotional reaction freight train, you stay on that platform and watch your emotional reaction race away without you. 

When you know and acknowledge your triggers, you can remain in control and stay calm and rational even in heated situations.

If you’re wondering ‘well does this work for highly sensitive people?” – the answer is “absolutely.”

I am as highly sensitive as they come and I haven’t met too many more people who are more emotional than I am.

I can cry just by thinking of some lyrics to a song that touches my heart, and even now as I’m writing this I’m tearing up a bit. 

Seriously. When there’s a thunderstorm outside I can cry just thinking of how one of our cats was a stray and for years she had to fend for herself outside in weather like this, or worse. 

But even me, being the highly sensitive emotional person that I am, I can still distance myself from my emotional reactions and can watch that emotional freight train go off into the distance without me.

If I can do this, so can you.

The free resource I have for you is going to help you identify your top three core emotional values.

Knowing these are going to be a gamechanger for you because the majority of the time when we’re feeling emotionally triggered, it’s because one of our core emotional values is being challenged.

For me, one of my core emotional values is gratitude – which is one of the reasons why on my Instagram Stories every night I share a gratitude prompt with you because I truly believe that there is so much in life to be grateful for.

And my life hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows! Even through the challenges and struggles, keeping my focus on what I’m grateful for has made all the difference.

But when I’m talking with someone who is unable to see what they have to be grateful for, I feel a mighty little rage building up in me and I get really upset and frustrated. I can feel the emotions rising up, but because I know that this is a trigger for me I can remember that just because gratitude is vitally important to me, it isn’t a core emotional belief for everyone.

And it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or even an ungrateful person.

But I know that this kind of thing is triggering for me. So when I feel that emotional reaction happen in my brain, I just know that gratefulness or a lack of it is a trigger for me and I can step back and remember to stay connected to cool, calm, collected and rational Heather.

Everyone has three core emotional values that can trigger a strong emotional reaction, but when we’re aware of what these are we can stay on that train platform and the emotional freight train can race off without us and we can stay in control.

The free pdf I have for you will walk you through how to discover your top three core emotional values. By knowing what some of your emotional triggers are, you’re going to be able to start creating some distance between the trigger and that inevitable emotional reaction.

Click here to download the worksheet.

Then, when you’ve discovered your three core emotional values your action step is to share your three core emotional values on your Facebook or Instagram Story and tag me in it @TheUltimateLifeSurvivalGuide so I can cheer you on and send you a free gift, from my heart to yours. Plus, I will also share my top 3 core emotional values with you and maybe we’ll be core emotional value twins!

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