A most critical, and effective, strategy for stopping negative self talk is… don’t try. Do not attempt to end negative self talk, do not attempt to suppress or change it in any way — let it flow completely uninhibited.
I’ll issue this challenge to anyone who may want to take it on, and also conduct a bit of personal research in the process: make your negative self talk go away. Take some act or another and through it cause your negative self talk to disappear. I’ll venture this guess:
You won’t be able to do it.
There is no way to force the mind to become quiet short of bringing on physical unconsciousness — and even this is a temporary solution at best. So does this mean we are stuck for the duration with negative self talk? No, but we must take a very different approach to it than is typical.
Most of us recoil and / or squirm when negative self talk comes up. In fact what we are doing is engaging in more self talk, though we are typically not conscious enough to be aware of this. The self talk about the self talk amounts to labeling — this negative self talk that I’m experiencing is a bad thing — and resisting — this negative self talk that I’m experiencing needs to be done away with.
It is this mental response to the negative self talk that causes pain and suffering, not the negative self talk itself. Let me put an emphasis on this important point: the negative self talk does not cause us any harm; the harm comes from our mental responses to the negative self talk.
The mind is going to run, and this is especially true for people whose first response to mind activity is typically to be in resistance to it or to respond to it somehow. This reminds me of something I heard spiritualist Adyashanti say: the mind is somewhat like a dog — release it from your control and it runs away, but eventually it comes back to you.
What does this mean?
If you release control and allow the mind to express itself however it will, including any negative self talk, there will be a good amount of noise and activity and even discomfort to start with. Eventually this will run its course however and the mind will become more calm and more quiet. This in turn will lead to a peaceful energy and an overall contentment.
It all starts with allowing. When negative self talk comes up take note of it but otherwise let it be; don’t label it, don’t attempt to change it somehow — just let it be there.
Some people will find this allowing to be anxiety provoking or even defeatist. This is more self talk labeling. What to do about it? Let it be there as well.
If all of this sounds like an invitation to do nothing, it is not doing nothing so much as it’s allowing versus not accepting or trying to change. This is a strategy most people don’t consider but it typically brings very peaceful and satisfying results.