Here are some classic examples of negative self-talk that foster depression, hopelessness, low self esteem, suspiciousness of others and anxiety. Who needs it?!
- Black and White Thinking: This is the tendency to see things in an all-or-nothing fashion. Beware of words like “never,” “always,” “nothing” and “everyone.” If you think there are only two choices in a given situation, you’re suffering from Black and White Thinking. There are always multiple answers to any problem so expand your mind and get into the grey area.
- Minimizing: This is when folks downplay the things that happen in their lives, whether good or bad. So, you might minimize some great achievement or you might minimize the severity of your drug and alcohol use.
- Mindreading: If you’re assuming you know what others think of you or what they’re going to say or do, you’re mind-reading. You need to check in with people and find out what’s really going on and not depend on how “sure” you are that you know what they’re going to think, do or say.
- Awfulizing: Are you someone that sees into the future and the only prediction is something negative? Are you always waiting for the other shoe to drop? This type of thinking isn’t more “realistic,” it’s just more negative.
- Errors in Blaming: This is the tendency to unfairly blame yourself or others. Check out the facts before rushing to judgment.
- Down-Putting: Do you put yourself or others down for making just one mistake or having just one problem? There’s no need to judge yourself or others so harshly. Leave room for the imperfections of life.
- Emotional Reasoning: This is the tendency to believe that, if you feel a certain way about yourself, then it must be true.
Whether you’re in a drug and alcohol treatment programs, attending 12-Steps or other recovery meetings or seeing an individual substance abuse counselor, noticing and changing your faulty self-talk will keep you on the road to a stronger recovery.