While no one necessarily wants to see themselves in a negative light, unconscious self-defeating thoughts can destroy one’s attempts to build self-esteem. These messages may be a response to traumatic events or rejection or a bad habit developed over time. When young adults have internalized messages that they are inadequate or worthless, they are less likely to pursue goals that would help them shift their perspective of themselves. Many young adults struggle to believe positive affirmations; however, trying to increase positive self-talk builds their confidence.
The Missing Piece
Young adults may eat well to feel better, work out to feel better, take meds and go to therapy to feel better—yet feeling better emotionally and spiritually really starts from what’s inside their heads and hearts. Young women may try to practice self-care and actively participate in therapy, but without addressing the way they talk to themselves, they may struggle to feel like the choices they’re making are “working.”
Positive thinking and optimism can be effective stress management tools that not only prevent stress caused by overthinking, but also offer solutions when situations feel overwhelming. Positive self-talk opens the doors to new opportunities and pride in one’s accomplishments.
Benefits of Positive Self-Talk
- Greater self-efficacy
- Higher self-esteem
- Increased energy
- Greater life satisfaction
- Better problem-solving abilities
- Attracts other positive-minded people
- Leads to healthier coping mechanisms
Examples of Negative Self-Talk
- Personalizing. They blame themselves for everything.
- Magnifying. They focus on the negative aspects of a situation, ignoring any and all of the positive.
- Catastrophizing. They expect the worst and rarely let logic or reason persuade them otherwise.
- Polarizing. They see the world in black and white, or good and bad. There’s nothing in between and no middle ground for processing and categorizing life events.
Challenging Young Adults’ Inner Self-Critic
- Recognize moments when negative self-talk arises. Certain environments, situations, or even people may trigger a cycle of self-defeating thoughts. Noticing patterns in when these thoughts appear helps them prepare to change their perspective and look for the positives.
- Look for specific themes in how they undermine their self-worth, as mentioned above. This makes it easier to directly challenge these thoughts.
- Check in with them before negative emotions escalate. Often these ruminating thoughts begin well before they become overwhelming. Asking them how they’re doing—during positive and negative experiences—encourages them to build self-awareness.
- Encourage them to get involved. While they may doubt their own ability to succeed, giving them additional support and guidance motivates them to pursue their goals. At first, they may compare themselves to coworkers, classmates, and peers who seem more self-assured; however, this mindset can rub off on them. Positive feedback from others helps young adults question the accuracy of their self-defeating thoughts and internalize these affirmations.
Journey Home East Can Help
Journey Home East is a transitional living program for young women ages 16-21. This program focuses on helping women transition from long-term treatment to the real world. While they are at our program, we help build confidence in young adults. The idea is to ween them off support systems of being in programs for many years and hone in on functional living skills they need to be independent. Journey Home East helps with scheduling for school, classes, work, internships. This program also provides health coaching, relationship building, dating safety , and personal safety tips. Students have the opportunity to equip themselves with the skills they need to lead healthy and successful lives post-treatmentWe can help your family today!
Contact us at 1-855-290-9684 to learn more!