What are Those Voices in Your Head + How to Get Them To Shut Up

We are our own worst critics. We’ve all experienced that nagging inner voice telling us we’re not good enough. “You’re fat,” “You’ll never run a mile,” and “Nobody likes you” are all common things that we tell ourselves. Rest assured, these voices are common and experienced by everyone at one time or another. However, you don’t need to live with these voices tearing you down. Here are our the top techniques to get those pesky voices to shut up once and for all.

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts. These thoughts often come at impromptu times and what constitutes an intrusive thought will change depending on the situation. If you’re trying to take a test, being distracted by thinking about your favorite TV show would be an intrusive thought. However, if you’re trying to mediate and completely clear your mind, any thought at all would be considered intrusive.

Woman looking down at tablet with hand on forehead

A lot of us experience intrusive thoughts taking the form of a negative inner voice that pops up during quiet moments throughout our day. While these intrusive thoughts often lead us to feel worthless, they are not based in reality. Especially for those of us with particularly strong voices, staying positive about ourselves and our goals can be challenging.

Shutting Them Up

Many of us would love to get rid of our inner voice, but simply do not know how to stop intrusive thoughts. If you’re ready to get those negative inner voices to stop talking, follow these four simple steps.

1. Acknowledge the Thought

Trying to ignore an inner thought will only make them more persistent. Instead, try to take a moment of pause to acknowledge what the voices are saying. This gives you a chance to shine a spotlight on when and why these voices pop up. Understanding what we say to ourselves, and how we feel in turn, is essential to gaining mastery over your thoughts.

2. Yes And?

Next, pair each intrusive thought with a positive one. When your inner voice tells you “You don’t run fast enough” counter with an “and how fast I run doesn't matter.” By consistently reminding yourself of all the ways you are successful, you will eventually change your subconscious thought process about who you are. You will learn how to see the good in yourself over the ‘bad.’


3. Give Meditation a Try

Mediation is an ancient practice that teaches us to gain mastery over our thoughts. Mediation calls on practitioners to empty their minds of all thoughts. After practicing, you will be able to completely silence your thoughts at will. Mediation has multiple other health benefits too.

Interested in learning more about meditation? Check out our step-by-step guide.

4. Write Down Positive Affirmations

Woman with eyes closed

The most important part of shutting our nagging inner voices up is celebrating all the positive this about us. Take a few minutes every day to take out a pen and paper and jot down everything you like about yourself. Refer to this list every time you feel the negative voices getting the better of you.

We often spend too much time and attention on the things we don’t like about ourselves or the things we don’t think we can do. Instead, carve out time to celebrate all the wonderful things about yourself. Over time, you’ll be able to replace your negative thoughts will all the positive ones.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re doing great. Next time you feel those voices in your head getting the better of you, try one of these four tips and shut them up.

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