You’re going to love this trick for quieting negative self-thoughts. You know, the ones that constantly chip away at your mood, confidence, and self-esteem. Watch out inner critic—your days are numbered.
We all struggle with negative thoughts to some degree. Some of us can be more self-conscious than others. And if you have anxiety, chances are you’re all too familiar with how negative thoughts can be invading and destructive.
Learning to fight against those negative thoughts can do us all a bit of good. It’s hard to function when your own brain is working against you! I’m here to share one strategy that may work for you.
Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
Credit goes to my daughter and her awesome therapist for developing this idea that can work for both kids and adults. My teenage daughter and I both struggle with anxiety and depression. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that negative self-thoughts can be so destructive and that there is a way to fight against them.
Read my anxiety story.
My daughter likes to make origami, and she and her therapist are always coming up with fun ideas for how to help her feel a little better. One of the most successful of these is positive parrot.
How Does Positive Parrot Work?
Positive parrot takes the mean words from your inner critic and flips them into what others know to be true about you. Your inner critic takes every mistake or bad feeling and amplifies it until you feel terrible. Positive parrot stops this thinking in its tracks.
My daughter’s positive parrot is an origami bird that she colored and wrote her reminders inside. He is filled with positive true statements that remind her of all the great things about herself. Learn how to craft these statements below. They can be so powerful!
Positive parrot sits on her shelf and can be taken down to read. She also has a mantra to use when she’s away from home and feeling bad: “remember positive parrot.” Whether yours has a physical representation or not, the concept holds true.
Silencing Your Inner Critic
What are the negative thoughts that plague you on a day to day basis? Take some time and sit down and analyze these. What would a friend or loved one say if they heard you utter these out loud? Chances are, you are being your own worst critic and others have a different point of view about you. If you have trouble figuring this out for yourself, ask someone you trust to help.
I use my husband for this all the time. I can be really self-conscious about my performance at work and also critical of myself as a mother. Saying these feelings out loud to someone else helps gut check them for me. He helps me remember that my boss often praises my performance and that I do great things with the kids, even if every day isn’t a complete success.
The point is to build up your awareness of the true you, not the picture your inner critic is painting. Make a mental or written list of all the good things about you. Include your strengths, along with how people close to you feel about you and count on you. This is your positive parrot ammunition that you’ll put to use when the negative thoughts start creeping in.
Here are some examples:
|Your Inner Critic||What Would Positive Parrot Say?|
|I’m so stupid. I never get anything right.||You work hard. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes.|
|I’m so mean.||You are kind at heart. Everyone has bad days.|
|I’m terrible at ——–||You are great at ——–. No one is perfect.|
|No one even likes me.||You are so loved.|
Say Goodbye to Negative Thoughts
When your inner critic starts up, let positive parrot come to your defense. It takes practice, but trust me, it’s worth the effort. This approach is great for kids and adults.
What do you say, will you give positive parrot a try and smash your inner critic?
Do you struggle with body image? Get help with that here.
While it’s important to have strategies you can implement on your own, please seek professional help if your thoughts are worrisome or your anxiety is affecting your life. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Wishing you much success in quieting those negative thoughts!