What are negative self-talk and negative thinking?

Sometimes, our thoughts can make us feel less confident and less good about ourselves. Even if we've done well, a voice inside our head keeps doubting our abilities or saying we'll fail in different situations. This experience is often a manifestation of negative self-talk and negative thinking.

Negative self-talk, an involuntary and stressful form of self-criticism, can lead to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (Ascend Healthcare, 2022). It is the habit of engaging in automatic negative thoughts, creating a cycle of unhelpful internal dialogue. It's like having a relentless companion who's quick to highlight challenges, dismiss successes, and foster a general sense of self-doubt. 

This habit is so ingrained that it can become a constant presence in our daily lives, affecting our emotions, relationships, and overall sense of success. Students, professionals, and even clients seeking personal growth can fall victim to negative self-talk. For instance, when faced with a challenge, the automatic negative thoughts might lead to a belief in one's inability to overcome it. This pessimistic outlook can create anxiety and hinder the development of practical solutions.

To address negative self-talk, it's crucial to develop the ability to identify and challenge these automatic negative thoughts. Take a moment to reflect on an example from your life where negative thinking may have influenced your emotions or actions. There may have been a moment when you doubted your skills or felt overwhelmed by a challenge.

Creating a practice of identifying and reframing negative thoughts is essential. Start by questioning these thoughts' validity and replacing them with more positive views. This doesn't mean being overly optimistic but approaching challenges realistically and constructively.

Reframing negative self-talk is a valuable tool in self-care and personal development. By consciously choosing words that support rather than undermine, we can create a more positive narrative for our lives, rewiring our brains to feel good about our challenges.

Printable Positive Reframing Worksheet

Download this Positive Reframing Worksheet to cultivate a positive mindset, challenge thoughts, and embrace personal growth for your patients.

How can positive self-talk and positive thinking help combat negative self-talk and thinking?

Positive self-talk and positive thinking play pivotal roles in cultivating mental well-being. Here are the following ways positive self-talk can help.

  1. Disrupt negative beliefs: Positive self-talk disrupts negative beliefs by introducing counter-narratives and challenging and replacing pessimistic thoughts with affirming ones, thus promoting mental well-being.
  2. Enhance resilience: It builds resilience by instilling a more optimistic perspective, enabling individuals to bounce back from setbacks and maintain mental well-being.
  3. Improve self-perception: Positive thinking improves self-perception by emphasizing strengths and achievements, gradually eroding negative self-talk and contributing to a more positive mental health outlook.
  4. Cultivate mindfulness: Positive self-talk and thinking foster mindfulness, helping individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and enabling them to intercept and challenge negative patterns for improved mental well-being.

How to use this Positive Reframing Worksheet

The Positive Reframing Worksheet helps you shift your perspective on challenging situations and foster a positive mindset. This worksheet is your guide to identifying and transforming negative thoughts into positive beliefs, empowering you to navigate life with resilience and awareness.

Step 1: Download the template

Begin by downloading the Positive Reframing Worksheet template. This will serve as your canvas for cognitive restructuring, allowing you to challenge negative thoughts and replace them with empowering statements.

Step 2: Identify the challenging situation

In the first section, describe the challenging situation causing distress. Be specific and honest about what you're facing, as acknowledging the issue is the first step towards positive change.

Step 3: Explore negative thoughts

List the negative thoughts associated with the situation. Practice identifying cognitive distortions and recognizing when your mind may be playing tricks on you. This step lays the foundation for positive reframing.

Step 4: Challenge negative thoughts

Engage in cognitive restructuring by challenging the accuracy of your negative thoughts. Offer alternative perspectives and reframe them into positive beliefs. This process helps build self-confidence and resilience.

Step 5: Identify positive aspects

Explore the positive aspects, opportunities, or lessons within the challenging situation. Shift your focus from what's difficult to what's working, cultivating a mindset of gratitude and growth.

Step 6: Explore personal strengths

Reflect on your personal strengths and qualities. Acknowledging your strengths enhances self-awareness and builds the foundation for overcoming challenges with confidence.

Step 7: Set positive intentions

Establish positive intentions or affirmations aligned with the reframed thoughts. These intentions act as guiding principles, influencing your mindset and behavior.

Step 8: Create an action plan

Outline practical steps to address the challenging situation. This action plan empowers you to implement positive changes in your life, turning insights into real-world improvements.

Step 9: Reflect 

Take a moment to reflect on the process. Revisit the worksheet as needed, practicing the art of positive reframing and cognitive restructuring. Remember, with practice comes mastery, and the Positive Reframing Worksheet is your companion in building a more positive and resilient mindset.

Positive Reframing Worksheet example

In our daily lives, the words we use internally profoundly impact our well-being. Basic knowledge of helpful self-talk can lead to a more positive way of thinking. Practice identifying and challenging automatic negative thoughts with our Sample Positive Reframing Worksheet PDF. Over time, you'll find that this simple act can contribute significantly to your mental health and overall success.

Download this Positive Reframing Worksheet example:

Positive Reframing Worksheet

What are the benefits of using this Positive Reframing Worksheet?

The Positive Reframing Worksheet offers practical benefits for individuals seeking to enhance their mental well-being by fostering positive thoughts and empowering beliefs.

Enhanced life satisfaction

By consistently practicing positive reframing and challenging negative thoughts, this worksheet helps individuals develop a more optimistic outlook. Over time, cultivating positive and empowering statements contributes to increased life satisfaction, fostering a sense of contentment and well-being.

Boosted self-confidence

Engaging in cognitive restructuring through the Positive Reframing Worksheet allows individuals to identify and replace self-doubting thoughts with affirmations. This process, akin to cognitive behavior therapy, promotes the development of self-confidence as individuals gain a clearer understanding of their strengths and capabilities.

Heightened self-awareness

The worksheet encourages individuals to reflect on personal strengths and challenges, promoting self-awareness. Users develop a deeper understanding of their thoughts and emotions by actively creating positive reframes and acknowledging cognitive distortions, leading to heightened self-awareness and improved emotional intelligence.

Positive and empowering statements

By deliberately reframing negative thoughts, individuals learn to express themselves more positively. The worksheet guides users in crafting positive and empowering statements, fostering a constructive and affirming mindset, which, in turn, contributes to improved communication and interpersonal relationships.

Effective cognitive restructuring

By providing a structured approach to cognitive restructuring, the Positive Reframing Worksheet facilitates the development of skills that align with cognitive behavior therapy principles. People learn to challenge and reframe thoughts, creating a mental habit essential for effective problem-solving, stress management, and overall emotional well-being. This practical approach to cognitive restructuring can have long-lasting benefits in navigating life's challenges.

Research and evidence

Chopra's (2012) study focused on teaching grade one students a three-level process for cultivating positive self-talk, involving developing self-talk awareness, acquiring strategies to shift negative thoughts, and implementing positive self-talk in daily interactions. The results confirmed that these strategies positively influenced the students' ability to reconsider negative statements, highlighting the potential to reshape perspectives, attitudes, and reactions even among young students.

In sports, Ay et al.'s (2013) study, involving 30 male students, explored the impact of positive self-talk on learning the grab start in swimming and self-efficacy improvement. The findings indicated significant post-test differences favoring the instructional self-talk group, suggesting that combining positive self-talk with physical practice enhances learning and boosts self-efficacy more effectively than relying solely on physical training. In addition to this, athletes who used positive reframing coped better, returned to sport more, and had less fear of reinjury after surgery (Flanigan, 2021).

Examining self-talk among undergraduate students, Sanchez et al. (2016) found correlations between the valence of general and academic self-talk, reporting an overall inclination toward more positive self-talk. Notably, participants revealed increased negative self-talk in challenging academic subjects, with this negative self-talk aligning with anticipated negative exam outcomes. Moreover, students who faced difficulty and ended up suspending their studies displayed less positive academic self-talk and more negative self-talk, underscoring the potential advantages of training in appropriate self-talk for navigating challenging academic situations.

Why use Carepatron as your therapy software?

At Carepatron, we go beyond merely providing therapy software. Our intuitive platform transforms digital appointments into genuine connections, ensuring therapy is easily accessible and convenient through our telehealth feature.

With our Clinical Documentation feature, your records are systematically organized, securely stored, and always within reach – no more scrambling for that crucial note from weeks ago. Carepatron prioritizes efficiency, allowing you to dedicate more attention to what truly matters – the well-being of your clients.

Our Scheduling feature is crafted to simplify your life. No more endless back-and-forths to find the perfect time. With a few clicks and appointments are set, reminders are sent, leaving you with more time to guide individuals through their mental health journey.

Join a community dedicated to changing lives through mental health support. At Carepatron, success is about building resilience together. Choose more than just software; choose an immersive and empowering therapeutic experience with Carepatron.

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Ascend Healthcare. (2022, February 16). Negative self-talk | What is it? | Learn more at ascendhttps://www.ascendhc.com/teen-rehab-blog/what-is-negative-self-talk-how-can-you-redirect-it/

Ay, K. M., Halaweh, R., & Al-taieb, M. A. (2013). Positive self-talk and its effect on learning the grab start skill in swimming and self-efficacy improvement. Journal of Physical Education and Sport13(4), 578-582.

Chopra, K. (2012). Impact of positive self-talk. OPUS (Open ULeth Scholarship)Home. https://opus.uleth.ca/items/2201b6f3-8711-445e-b63f-393047ac7139

Flanigan, D. C., Everhart, J. S., DiBartola, A. C., Blough, C., Schiele, S. E., Harris, K. M., & Emery, C. F. (2021). Positive reframing: An important but underutilized coping strategy in athletes undergoing sport-related knee surgery. Journal of Athletic Training, 56(12), 1334-1339. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-0618.20

Sánchez, F., Carvajal, F., & Saggiomo, C. (2016). Self-talk and academic performance in undergraduate students. Anales de Psicología, 32(1), 139–147. https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.32.1.188441

Who uses the Positive Reframing Worksheet?
Who uses the Positive Reframing Worksheet?

Commonly asked questions

Who uses the Positive Reframing Worksheet?

Absolutely anyone can dive into the Positive Reframing Worksheet! It's your go-to guide for infusing positivity into your mindset and boosting emotional well-being.

When should I use the Positive Reframing Worksheet?

Grab the worksheet whenever you feel the weight of negativity or face a challenging situation! It's like a positivity lifeline, ready to reframe those thoughts and turn things around.

How do I use the Positive Reframing Worksheet?

Download the template, identify your challenges, flip those negative thoughts on their heads, and craft empowering statements. 

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