Challenge Negative Self-Talk

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Challenge Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk refers to thoughts or things you say to yourself. If you’re in the habit of negative self-talk, it keeps you from seeing situations in a realistic and helpful way – and you’re probably not even aware you’re doing it.

With practice, you can learn to notice your own negative self-talk as it happens, and consciously choose to think about the situation differently. To find out if your perceptions of a situation are accurate, ask some challenging questions like those below:

Reality testing

  • What evidence supports my thinking? What proof is there that my thinking is false?
  • Are my thoughts factual, or are they just my interpretations?
  • How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?

Alternative explanations

  • Are there other ways to look at this situation?
  • What else could the situation mean?


  • Is this situation as bad as I’m making out to be?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen? How likely is that?
  • What’s the best thing that could happen?
  • What’s most likely to happen?
  • Is there anything good about this situation?
  • Will this matter in five years?

Goal directed thinking

  • Is thinking this way helping me feel good or achieve my goals?
  • What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
  • Is there something I can learn from this situation to help me in the future?

Recognizing that your current way of thinking might be self-defeating—and prevent you from getting what you want out of life—can motivate you to look at things from a different perspective.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times.



Many articles in this section were adapted from, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth