Challenging and Reframing Negative Self-Talk

Social Emotional Learning

Most people are tough on themselves. While our internal voice can motivate us to work harder and complete projects, it can also be counterproductive – causing feelings of insecurity and depression. Many people don’t realize that they can have power over their thoughts.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping grade fives challenge the negative self-talk they admit they experience daily. In-class workshops offered some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) exercises which included noticing our negative self-talk, challenging it (asking ourselves: is it true?) and then, reframing it.  For example:  before an exam a student might think, ‘I’m going to fail…I’m going to fail…’ but while the student might have difficulty with math, they also may not fail. To increase the chances of not failing, the student may wish to reframe their thought with, ‘I may do better than I think’ or if I study a bit more I can pass.’  Besides increasing their chances of passing the test, they will feel less anxious leading up to it. Win win!

While our internal voice can motivate us to work harder and complete projects, it can also be counterproductive – causing feelings of insecurity and depression

The self-awareness and management tools I’m sharing with youth are tools for school, and for life. To discuss this topic with your kids, you may wish to watch this informative video. Ask your children how they’ve reframed some of their self-talk. You can even share moments of self-doubt and deprecation with your children, and ways you overcame these negative thoughts and feelings. A great extension exercise for the home includes the child writing their ‘reframed thoughts’ on post it notes and posting them in their room so that they can be reminded daily to choose their thoughts more wisely (if they wish to be happier that is…).

Don’t hesitate to reach out for more tips and @ home ideas!

Jodi Derkson, Meadowridge’s SEL Counselor/Coordinator  

Jodi.derkson@meadowridge.bc.ca