If you are struggling with negative self-talk during recovery, you are not alone. Many recovering individuals experience the voice of an inner critic that produces a stream of negative thoughts and dialogues in the mind. If these cycles of negative self-talk happen unchecked, they can fuel addiction and mental health issues.
Deeper Causes of Negative Self-talk
Many recovering individuals harbor guilt and shame for their past addiction. Even when making progress in recovery, they still give in to self-blame. Recovery experts observe that people with low self-esteem tend to develop addictive habits, which continue to fuel the already low sense of self-worth. People who have this mental habit tend to beat themselves up for anything bad that happens in life. Negative self-talk sometimes personalizes a bad situation by such self-blame.
The negativity of attitudes is also demonstrated in the mind’s tendency to gravitate toward the worst-case scenario. There is a catastrophizing voice in the head saying, “This will be a disaster.” One only focuses on the negative and filters anything positive thing in sight. This may happen before or during a depressive episode. With time, habits of negative self-talk may evolve into chronic depression.
Changing How You See Things With Positivity
A person with a harmful self-talk habit may need external help to see the positive sides of life. People going through addiction recovery treatment can get help from cognitive-behavioral therapists. The latter’s job is to help identify negative thinking patterns and their connection to one’s mood and behavior.
Any reflective activities such as keeping a gratitude journal may help recovering individuals gain a different perspective on life. Just as how negative self-talk changes brain structures through neuroplasticity, the reinforcement of positive thinking methods can also help the brain reverse course. Of course, it takes time and perseverance to achieve optimal results. As you get better at recognizing negative thinking patterns, you can dive deeper and develop new outlooks on life.
Positive Thinking Exercises
There are many ways to practice positive thinking. One way is through counting one’s blessings in life. Carve out a routine time in the evening to do this. You can write them down for consistency, just like keeping a gratitude journal. This simple yet powerful exercise can break the cycle of negativity.
Another mental exercise is to step outside of yourself when you are stuck in a negative thought cycle. Imagine what your best friend or a compassionate person would say about this. Because we often do not practice self-love and self-compassion, removing ourselves one step from the situation may help create some needed self-empathy.
Another common method of reversing negative self-talk is through mindfulness meditation. By focusing on the present moment with self-acceptance, mindfulness exercises allow you to stop and refocus. Even when your mind begins to wander into negative corners again, simply recognize this and bring your focus back to the present moment.
The Benefits of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common approach to help recovering individuals address negative thought patterns. Unlike other forms of psychological treatment, CBT is based on the understanding that faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking may lead to mental health problems. A therapist will help you recognize distortions in thinking and use problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
CBT treatment also helps people face their fears instead of avoiding them. The therapist may use role-play to help you prepare for problematic interactions. Most importantly, CBT therapists have a wide toolkit to help calm the mind and relax the body. Because psychological and emotional stress is at the root of negative self-talk, CBT directly addresses these sources of stress.
Practical Self-Care Methods to Promote Positive Thinking
Recovering individuals should integrate positive thinking into their daily actions and interactions. One way is to practice positive affirmations. Repeat a positive phrase to encourage yourself every day. While you can analyze what went wrong in certain challenging situations, give yourself enough time to let the issues settle before making judgments about yourself.
Positive thinking is very important in family life and work scenarios. Learn to relax and let things happen. Acknowledge failure but always be quick to forgive others and yourself. Do not dwell on past mistakes. If certain relationships or personalities are triggering, try to remove yourself from meeting them. Surround yourself with sober and positive friends. Always be open to others’ perspectives. Learn to accept compliments and enjoy them as a way to connect.
Self-care also means watching your own cheerfulness, energy level, anxiety levels, and satisfaction with life. If you feel stressed or anxious, maybe it is time to take a quality break from work and family responsibilities. Reserve some quiet and relaxing time for yourself to recharge.
If you are struggling with negative self-talk, it is time to work with mental health professionals who use evidence-based methods to help you. Unchecked negative thinking patterns may fuel your cravings and lead to a full-blown relapse. If you are looking for a quality program that offers cognitive-behavioral therapy, you do not need to look beyond Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA. Our team takes pride in our holistic path, which is incremental to sustainable and long-term recovery. We focus on each stage of recovery, both in terms of physical health and mental health. Our inpatient residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs offer unmatched benefits. We provide excess comfort with an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden during your sobriety journey. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Call us at (800) 804-8714.