Solutions to Negative Self-Talk


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1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #4658

    Reply to this thread with examples of how you were able to change each of your negative self-talk “traps,” by focusing on what you want – Day 17 – Negative Self-Talk Solutions.

  • #8055


    Doing this exercise, I was really surprised to discover how few of these ‘traps’ I struggle with now. It also helped me to really see the ones I need to watch out for and do some positive action around. The two I struggle with most, are the “deletion” and “minimizing”.

    With the “deletion” trap, this often returns in those good moments when I’ve been sober for a while and when the thought of having a drink comes up, the message is ‘no big deal’ because I’m not playing the tape through to the end. That’s the question I want to be asking myself, ” Have you played the tape through till the end?”

    With the “minimizing” trap, the questions that I find really helpful are, “What’s perfect about this moment/situation? Is there something here that’s asking for my attention? Is there something here to celebrate?”

    I also just wanted to share a book that was a huge help to me on my path, it’s a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements. It’s a great little book that blew me away. I’d read so many of the same things written and spoken about by other people, but he managed do it in a way that really hit the mark – simply, beautifully and no bull.

    • #12578


      Man, I can totally relate to not “playing the tape all the way to the end.” I often think, oh, one drink, what harm can it do. But then I think about all those times (read: none) that I had one drink and then was perfectly fine with not drinking more. I am enjoying a meal with my wife and treat myself to “just one drink.” That quickly turns into me obsessing over where the next one will come from. I think “I just ordered the meal, if I finish this one quickly then I can have one more before the meal is over. Do I have more in the house? Can I think of a reason to stop at the grocery store so I can get some wine? Are we out of milk? Maybe I’ll say we’re out of milk.” That’s how the night plays out. Completely disengaged and caught in my own head and problems instead of just being in the moment and enjoying time with my wife.

  • #8122

    Thank you for sharing! Sounds like you have some great questions lined up to ask yourself when the time comes. Being prepared is key. And thanks for sharing the book- I haven’t read that one!

  • #8185


    Today was a breakthrough day for me. Through my examination of the perfectionism trap, I was able to understand that what I was brutally self-critical of (my ability as a classical harpist) was all based on other’s expectations. I was (am) darn good at playing, and internalizing the “there is no perfection” is allowing me to shed years of self-loathing and the need to cover it up with drinking. This has brought up a massive question for me, though: Are there any valid reasons for me to perform if the event does not bring me joy (one of my core values)?

    Looking at my “should” statements, I had to face the ever critical, ever present “you should lose weight” voices. My eye opening moment was when I realized that the vast majority of decisions to be made in my life (what I would eat {massive food allergies as a kid}, what my career would be, what college I would attend, what I could wear to school {parental dress code}, when and where I would perform, etc.) were not made by me. Indeed, the only thing I had control over once I hit my teens and my allergies went away was my eating and drinking. I had complete control the whole time, and CHOSE to eat and drink to excess in response to a lack of control elsewhere. I let a few f bombs fly in my journal when I realized this. F “should”. Now I will ask myself, especially when I am feeling fat, “What can I do RIGHT NOW to take a step toward better health?” and “Which one of my Sobriety Plan steps can I use if a craving to disappear into drink hits me?”

    Wonderful day!

  • #8728


    This is an area I can definitely work on and improve. I am trying to be more aware of how my negative self talk, stories create anxiety, fear, and feeling of inadequacy. I enlisted the help of my spouse to gently point out to me when I use the words, never, always, can’t or should. These are red flag negative words. I loved the quote, focus on the solutions not the problems. It takes more energy to be negative. I am going to visualize me being positive anytime I hear that’s impossible.

  • #9813


    Here are some of my thinking traps, and more positive alternatives –

    Perfectionism –
    I have to complete all of the exercises in all of the solutions and all of the daily steps in the 30-Day Sobriety Solution every day, otherwise I will have failed.
    Alternative thought –
    The fact that I’m doing this program at all is fantastic, and any work I do for any of the solutions is better than not doing anything at all.

    Deletion –
    I used to love just getting drunk and being able to forget about all my problems.
    Alternative thought –
    What about all the negative consequences? If they didn’t bother me, I wouldn’t be doing this program.

    Exaggeration/minimisation –
    Because I had a bottle of wine the other night, it’s a complete and utter total disaster.
    Alternative thought –
    Hey, I’m on day 17, and that was just one day.

    Emotional reasoning –
    I feel really down, so it must mean this program isn’t working.
    Alternative thought –
    I’ve noticed more than ever in the past couple of weeks that emotions come and go like clouds in the sky; my commitment to this program is the sky itself.

    ‘Should’ statements –
    Matt, you should log onto the companion website again, have a look at the bonus material for today and you should have a look through the forums while you’re there as well.
    Alternative thought –
    I can log onto the site later, because I actually want to. I love looking round the site and get such inspiration from other people.


    • #12283


      Hi Matt,
      I always enjoy reading your posts. I really identified with your negative thinking traps and found your positive thinking alternatives very helpful.

  • #9952


    Matt, that was great and very helpful. What you said really resonated with me. Thanks

  • #10135


    I really didn’t think deletion was one of my traps, but after reading what you guys shared, well it sure is a trap I fall into. Whenever I have started drinking after a not drinking for a while, it was deletion. like you said, Peaceful Warrior, I’m not playing the tape to the end. I’m Deleting the big part of the picture. Thanks for the insight. The biggest problem ( trap) for me is thinking I’m the cause of something that has nothing to do with me…..Personalizing….I will work on being aware, not because I should, but because I want to.

  • #10343


    Negative thinking traps

    Generalizing and Jumping to conclusions – I always have to drink while I’m cooking large batches for the freezer
    Perfectionism – I have to lose 10 lbs. in 17 days on the “17 day diet”

    Positive thinking

    What if I sometines drink non-alcoholic beer, tea, or water instead of wine when I’m cooking especially for large batch freezer cooking?
    I’m continously losing weight now and have lost 7.5 lbs. in 15 days

  • #10619



    i have the same thoughts about cooking and drinking. I love to cook and my ritual was to pour the wine glass and spend time in the kitchen. My initial motivation for this program was to lose weight. Now I can cook with a sparkling club soda and lime and have lost weight too. I feel so much better and on the way to a healthier and lighter me. Happy cooking to you.

  • #10640


    I am on the second day of this program. What I’ve realized loud and clear from the start is that I am very, very easily shamed. I grew up with a very shaming culture in my family, and it continues with interaction from my grown siblings. I think I have avoided passing this on to my three children. Ironically, I drank to escape the horrible shaming feelings, and the drinking has eventually caused me to feel very ashamed. Hopefully sobriety will at least help me separate fact from fiction in the shaming department and allow a bit more authentic joy to shine in.

  • #11846


    My biggest struggle in sobriety is euphoric recall. Especially as I enter summer with it’s traditional vacations and events. I’m experiencing nostalgia as I remember good times associated with alcohol, and thinking alcohol is necessary to those good times. But that’s an assumption, a conclusion, my brain has accepted as true. And because I believe it’s true, it becomes my experience.

    So this year I am looking for how to have those same good times without alcohol and believing it is possible. I have already navigated through a two week vacation, a birthday celebration and a cocktail party. I’ve been delighted with discovering everything as been as enjoyable, and sometimes even more so, while sober.

  • #12579


    I am struggling to find positive actions to counter a few negative thought patterns. One thing that really undermines my happiness and is Constant internal argument. I often find myself replaying scenarios over and over in my head. Maybe it was an disagreement at work that I feel like I could have navigated better and I list out all of the responses. It could be a friendly comment someone said that didn’t register at the time but now I’m thinking of a million things I could have said. Or maybe it’s something coming up like a presentation or a clinic and I will anticipate questions that people will ask that I don’t know the answer to. These questions almost never come up but my anxiety over the hypothetical situation is palpable.

    This internal dialogue seems to happen so unconsciously that I often don’t realize that I am doing it. In a way it reminds me of how we learned that if you have a question in your subconscious that you will internally work to resolve the conflict. I feel like I am feeding myself hypothetical internal conflict to resolve and missing the important issues. I am trying to think of ways to combat this but I am coming up short. If anyone has experience with this or any good tips they are much appreciated! Thank you! You guys are doing great! Day 17!!!!

  • #12780


    I have the same tendency, iambrianmn. For me, today’s solution was a bit overwhelming–I’m definitely going to have to revisit it when I have more time and focus on two or three of the negative traps I fall into more frequently. I will give your question more thought and try to get back, but seeing as you’re about a week ahead of me, you may have already gotten the answer you need. If so, I’d love to hear it! I’ll try to share more tomorrow.

  • #13498


    I jump to conclusions a lot. For example with my boss. I concluded to think he was going to give me crap when I came back from my injury, but nothing happened. I went back to work, as usual. For weeks I had anxiety depression, should. I should’ve said this. I should’ve done that. Then i definitely had mind reading I am sure they are thinking this about me. I definitely exaggerated the whole thing, due to the anxiety I had from my negative self talk.

  • #13624


    My plan is to immediately do a 180 in my thinking to something positive when I catch my mind in any kind of negative loop. If I seem to stay stuck I will stop what I’m doing and head out for a 1-mile walk around the neighborhood loop. That will help me get out of my head and leave whatever it is behind.

  • #13712


    Rivieragril, I always like seeing your posts as I go through the program. Rivieras are nice, I’ve to the French one and the Mexican one several times. The Mexican one involved more drinking, perhaps the all inclusive thing. To gd260, I have found that the anxiety and depression that had been rather ingrained in my personality are, I feel, gone with my no longer drinking. I am cutting back on the antidepressant meds, and still feel great. Hopefully you will experience positiveness too.
    In one of the cognitive therapy books I read, some one referred to a “shouldy way of life”, and to beware (be aware!) of that.
    Also with out alcohol, my negative self talk is greatly dissipated. This is nice, because I hadn’t been working on it, nor thought about it until the solution.
    Many aspects of thought for me are improved w/o alcohol.

  • #15804


    Oh boy was this appropriate for me today. Yep I’ve been guilty of negative labeling, jumping to conclusions, exaggerations, emotional reasoning, and “Mind Reading”. I think I spent most of today, in fact, obsessed with these unhealthy tactics. Going to work on this consistently and so I printed some of the items on the Day 17 companion website out to review at the beginning of each day. This was really powerful and I can see that this can indeed be an incredible step towards Thriving In Sobriety.

  • #18403


    Perfectionism – Read Picture Perfect by Amy Baker to find ways to challenge myself to ease up on this huge issue. Come up with ways to manage my time better. Use positive affirmations to accomplish this as well as body image issues. Use Tapping to help too.
    Negative Labeling – Everytime I do this; find a positive about that specific and repeat it 3x.
    Jumping to Conclusions – When I catch myself; for Heaven’s sake bite my tongue! Then ask myself how I can handle this or view this differently. How can I find good?
    Generalizing – Remind myself that everyone has a different make up.
    Exaggeration/Minimalizing – When I catch myself ask me “Really? Is that the truth?” The shame that has kept me isolated and stuck for so long is wrong. Use wisdom when sharing and remind myself that people will understand and forgive.
    Should Statements – Turn them into I Can statements.
    Mind Reading – Ask questions or repeat back to the person what they just said.

  • #18751


    I stress our about making mistakes and some time these are not a big deal. Or sometimes I fixate on something that isn’t very important and cause my own stress. Need to let go and put a level of importance of something and then apply only enough effort to the task. Practice meditation and tapping if I get stressed out. I am also famous for putting myself down and overcriticizing myself. Even in cornhole I stress out.
    I used alcohol to forget all my problems and wanted to stop thinking about them and anything I could. Blacking out was a normal thing to me. Only thing that I got out of that was a bad memory and a nasty hangover. Now, I want to know my problems and make them better. Be proactive with my decisions and life. Wake up feeling “unbelievable” and conquer them tomorrow.
    -Jumping to Conclusions
    I catch myself thinking that I know what someone is thinking before I speak to them or think I know what my boss is thinking about my work and it’s usually negative. I need to tap out of the thoughts and wait until I get a response. Then react accordingly.
    -“Should” Statements
    Stop using “should”, “would”, or Could!!! I feel like I don’t use enough “I want”, I am”, I decided”, My choice” sentences when I speak to myself or others. Need to feel like I am taking ownership of my choices and decisions. Not being perfect but it will boost my courage and my self esteem. Practice at my meetings at work and when I make tough decisions. Even going out to eat, take charge of the situation…

  • #19857


    Mind Reading – Don’t assume, ask!  Don’t assume, don’t worry!

    Emotional Reasoning – Rest, take deep breaths, step back and focus on something good. Just quit ruminating!

    Generalizing – tactics include asking whether the generalizing is really true? Finding the limitations on generalization of the problem. Focusing on differences about the current situation and what has happened in the past and what could happen in the future.  Getting rest!!!!! Meditation.

    Deletion – reminding myself of the good parts of life during sober periods, and of course all of the lost time, money, energy, confidence and goodwill as a result of those few moments of optimal buzz.

    Exaggeration/Minimization – confront my exaggerations, force myself to answer whether they’re true and what the limits are.  Similar to generalizing.  GET REST! Meditate and breathe deeply!  Stop focusing on it and ruminating, focus on positive, take action!

    Should Statements – forget should. F*$#k should.  Life is what it is and my situation is happening.  What I want to happen is not going to happen, but good things may happen regardless and life can be beautiful again one day.  Focusing on how things should be has not helped me change anything anyway.  There is no should.

    Negative Labeling – focus on positive things, move on, get rest, clear my head, change my thoughts to something that I can change. Coming up with labels may somehow feel like I’m getting a handle on things or will be able to explain things in a way that everyone will agree with – but that’s not the case – I’m just convincing myself to stay in the blame mindset and not moving on. 

  • #20375


    Day 17-yes! This is the longest I have gone without drinking since my last child was born. He is 24!!
    Perfectionism is my biggest negative self talk. I wrote down what Matt said in the book but, changed his name to mine. I come from a huge family, I am the 9th out of 11. I always felt like I was not enough and sought any kind of attention I could get, both good and bad. Unfortunately there were too many kids to get much attention at all so I turned to my looks and my success. I worked way too hard on my physical appearance and it became a “self worth” for me. As I have aged there is not much I could do about it besides be depressed and drink so, I then worked on my success. I am successful but, I always feel I can do more. I beat myself up if I ever fail or let someone down. That usually leads to drinking and self loathing.

    I feel so much better through this program that I am enough just the way I am. I am going to practice more gratitude and self love. There will be no more negative words or conversations from me.

  • #20648


    Perfectionism is huge for me. I constantly judge myself, and usually do so negatively. I overcame it two years ago to get the job of my dreams, which i still have and love and am grateful for, but it still plays a huge part in my personal life. Getting to day 17 of this challenge has been great for me. Positive self talk in the mornings will help for sure, but i also find working out helps as well. The other negative traps for me are generalizing, jumping to conclusions, and exaggeration/minimization. Listening to the authors describe these negative traps really helped. Writing them all down in my journal helped as well. I really enjoyed the ‘asking the right questions’ yesterday as well. Asking What and How questions (using the pronoun “I”) instead of Why have really helped in my life, and I read about these in the QBQ book a few years ago (The Question Behind the Question). I definitely recommend it to others as it pertains to these past two days (16 & 17) solutions.

  • #20654


    just finished reading and making some notes from day 17. Think I have notes from every category. It has helped me tweak my 30 day statement. I have been having some trouble with the forgiveness part, with myself and another person. However, I have felt a lot more at peace and a lightness of attitude since I have started. and for the most part, quickly change the conversation in my head when I go down the same tired path.
    I can honestly say I feel better after 17 days of being sober than on any day I was trying to forget my pain with wine.
    Know I didn’t address specifics of the negative scenario , vs positive. but suffice to say they have been a real eye opener.

  • #120768


    Day 17 journalling was an eye opener, and made me realize some of the patterns and where they came from.

    I am a perfectionist, jump to conclusions, personalize everything, and a mind reader. These are the ones that stood out that i have recent examples and can hear my dad being angry with me or ignoring me. Yep. so it is. But, knowing that made me do the positive side of it, which is
    I am not perfect, no one is, but i try and can thrive.
    What happens will happen isntead of jumping to conclusions, it is t healthy for me to see only the negative conclusion. Many times, that has not been the case.
    Personalizing things – to STOP, its not about me.

    It helped me also to see my goals and achievements list here. This example was in another day’s reading, and I put them on my vision board. I am okay and can thrive in sobriety and life.

    Lastly, for mind reading, my sister and her life choices is my biggest example, and the hardest to let go. But I will try to just “ask” instead of guess. This is going to be an interesting one to challenge because of her own negative self talk, but I will try to be courageous and know the time to “ask”.

    I feel so good, healthy, and already feeling a shift.


  • #121189


    Can’t find the video on day 17. The youtube link is about the NEW YOU, and not the water experiment or two most self-destructive words. Any suggestions?

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