The Importance of Challenging Negative Self Talk

Hi friends! I’m getting back into the swing of things here in DC after my trip to Nashville for FNCE. As you know, I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco with ClassPass in a week and a half, so my first order of business once back in town was one final long run!

I arrived back in town on Tuesday evening, and Matt and I had a fun dinner out that night with friends, so to get me out of bed and moving I made sure I had someone to meet on Wednesday morning for a run. Thankfully my buddy Sokphal was up for it. 🙂

I wanted to get in 10 miles to make sure I was feeling strong and ready for the race next weekend, so I figured I’d do as many miles with Sokphal as she wanted to and then finish out the rest on my own. We set out (along with a high school friend of Sokphal’s that we ran into and had fun running/chatting with) along the Mt. Vernon Trail, enjoying the views as usual.

We did an out and back and around mile 5.5 I said farewell to Sokphal and her friend and then ran over Memorial Bridge to finish out the run on my own.

I felt a little tired/stiff, but it was a nice morning and it was fun to be out and about on an adventure. I allowed myself to walk some and take stretching/photo breaks, too. Running is supposed to be fun, after all… don’t forget that. 🙂

Finished it out! 10 miles, done. Proud of myself for getting this in!

After the run, I raced back home to tackle the work that I got behind on while traveling, and then late afternoon I headed off to coach Girls on the Run.

At yesterday’s Girls on the Run practice we talked to the girls about the importance of challenging negative self talk, and I wanted to write about that here on the blog as well because it’s important for all of us, too! Working on changing negative self talk to positive self talk is something that I work with a lot of my AnneTheRD clients on, actually, because it influences the choices we make in regards to food and exercise, too. Negative self talk is basically when you find yourself saying something mean to yourself – whether it’s “I can’t do this” or “I hate xxx part of my body” or “I am a failure because I ate xxxx or slept in and skipped my workout.” It’s unfortunately something that has become very typical for our society – in large part, I think, because of all the diet messaging and articles that tell you that if you eat something that’s not perfect, you’re a failure, or that if you just tried harder and weren’t so lazy, you’d have the body you wanted. It makes me really sad to hear people – in particular women – make negative comments like this about themselves. Not only is it bad for them, but it can also be contagious. If someone else makes a negative comment about themselves/their body/feeling guilty about eating something or being “so bad” for eating something, it’s almost understood that others in the group will also say something negative in solidarity. Remember that scene in “Mean Girls” where all the girls say something bad about their bodies and then look at Lindsay Lohan’s character and wait for her to do the same thing?

And not only is it contagious, but we start to really believe the negative things we say to ourselves and this will show in our actions. If you tell yourself that something sucks or is going to be terrible, it will be. If you tell yourself that you’re a failure/ruined everything for eating a cupcake, then you really believe that you are, and you’re likely to just eat the whole rest of the box because the rest of the day is ruined anyway, right?

Here’s the good news: we have the power to choose to talk to ourselves in a much more kind and positive way – and by not feeding into the negative self talk, you’ll inspire others around you to be more positive, too. The first step is to just start noticing when you’re negative self talking, whether internally or out loud. You might be surprised by how often it happens. Then, try to work to turn that around into something more positive. This can be hard at first, and it might be helpful to pretend you are talking to your best friend instead of yourself – we tend to be a lot kinder to others than we are to ourselves. The more you practice this, the easier and more natural it will become for your default self talk to be positive. We can’t change what happens to us, but we can change how we react to it. And remember that cupcake? Instead of feeling bad about it, slow down, enjoy the experience, and savor it. Now there’s no need to eat the rest of the box, because you haven’t ruined anything – you’ve just given yourself a treat and moved on with your day.

Do you ever notice yourself negative self talking? How do you work to change it?

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