We all have struggled with negative self-talk at some point or another–you know that little voice inside your head that can’t stop ruminating over mistakes, talking you down, or criticizing your work, appearance, and personality.
Our negative self-dialogue can impact our confidence, self-esteem, and emotions. All of these factors as well as our ability to express and cope with our emotions play big roles in our physical health.
Negative self-talk and emotions are normal thought processes. Even though they’re normal, it’s important to look at the weight and significance we place on those thoughts. It is the stories we create around our thoughts that can interfere with our mood, productivity, and physical health.
If you have been diagnosed with HPV, negative thoughts likely popped up. Many people struggle with blaming themselves for contracting HPV. We might think it was our fault or that we will never be able to heal. We may create negative stories that everything goes wrong for us or that this is the end of the world. Not only are those things not true, but they also interfere with our ability to heal.
Negative Thinking Can Impact Our Health
Research shows that positive thinking and self-talk leads to better health outcomes like increased life span, lower rates of depression, reduced risk of infection, and better cardiovascular health. On the flip side, negative thinking has been linked to disease outcomes.
Negative thinking is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The research found that chronic worry was more likely to experience cognitive decline such as memory problems and higher levels of beta-amyloid and tau proteins. The accumulation of these proteins is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Negative emotions can also impact inflammatory processes. Stress impacts our hormones and can trigger inflammation. Inflammation drives many chronic disease processes including HPV persistence.
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Types of Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk can be expressed in many forms. The Harvard University Stress and Development Lab has identified 10 common types we may experience including:
- All or nothing thinking: Seeing things as black or white. All or nothing thinking may lead to a setback being seen as a complete failure.
- Overgeneralization: Seeing a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat–concluding that bad things always happen to you or everything is difficult.
- Mental filter: When you find a single negative detail and have it cloud the rest of your reality such as one bad interaction or event making everything a challenge.
- Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they don’t count.
- Jumping to conclusions: Concluding without defined facts that support your conclusion. This may involve mind-reading, concluding someone is acting negatively toward you, or fortune-telling when you anticipate things will turn out badly.
- Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimizing: When you exaggerate the importance of something or make something smaller than it is.
- Emotional reasoning: when you assume your negative emotions reflect the ways things are. For example, you are feeling overworked, so you conclude you hate your job.
- Using should statements: You motivate yourself with should and shouldn’t. These often lead to feelings of guilt, anger, frustration, and resentment.
- Labeling and mislabeling: is another form of overgeneralizing where you attach a negative label to yourself from an error that was made.
- Personalization: When you see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which you were not primarily responsible for.
You may find you are more susceptible to some of these than others. We all fall into some of these patterns at some point. What’s important is learning to recognize when you are in the mindset and finding ways to show yourself compassion.
How to Cool Your Inner Critic
Usually, the first step in calming that inner voice is to notice the thoughts, feeling, and emotions. A meditation or journaling practice can be a helpful way to recognize when negative thoughts are coming up. Once we notice that we are in a state of negative self-talk we can practice non-judgment and self-compassion.
Our negative thoughts are neither good nor bad. Learning how to notice and engage with negative thoughts gives them less power in our lives. Our thoughts also help us get to know ourselves better. When we are curious and acknowledge that thoughts are there, we may find that underneath them is a hidden need or desire. Maybe that’s more rest, love, patience, or something else!
For most of us, it comes down to having more compassion for ourselves. If we can bring kindness to ourselves when we make mistakes, we might recognize that suffering is part of the human experience.
Foundation of Health and HPV
When it comes to healing naturally from HPV, it isn’t just our diet, lifestyle, and supplements that makes a difference. How we manage our outlook on HPV, our ability to heal, and how we treat ourselves daily also plays a role. Learning to hone our mindset plays another pivot role in establishing the foundations to foster our overall health.