Turn Down the Volume on Negative Self-Talk

Tips (and a Playlist!)

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We all have that inner voice that is critical, negative, and an all-around Debbie Downer. For some, that voice has a low volume, and for others it is set at max volume. All. The. Time.

How do you turn down the volume of negative self-talk, that inner voice that is harshest of your critics? As Thrive Global’s Arianna Huffington once said “Even our worst enemies don’t talk about us the way we talk to ourselves. I call this voice the obnoxious roommate living in our head. It feeds on putting us down and strengthening our insecurities and doubts.”

I have found that thinking of the obnoxious roommate as a radio station helps. When you hear that critical voice, and it starts drowning out the other voice in your head, the one that plays the positive vibes, make a conscious decision to change to a different station.

Don’t believe it? Think about when a sad, woe-is-me song comes on the radio. Suddenly your mood is dragged way down and out of nowhere you feel melancholy. What about when a positive and uplifting song comes on the radio? Suddenly the monotony of a long drive or the drudgery of traffic melts away. Changing the station in your head can have the same effect.

Mentally picture yourself hitting a new button on the radio, finding a station playing an uplifting tune that lifts you up, drowning out that obnoxious roommate. With time and practice, you will find that changing the station changes your entire attitude and outlook.

If, like me, you do better actually hearing a peppy song to help drive out the negative self-talk, here are my go-to songs for quieting the negative self-talk:

  • Jimmy Clift I Can See Clearly Now

  • Journey Don’t Stop Believing

  • Justin Timberlake Can’t Stop the Feeling

  • Katy Perry Firework

  • Maroon 5 Moves Like Jagger

  • Pharrell Williams Happy

Use these or create your own playlist of positive songs so that you can quickly turn down the obnoxious roommate in your head whenever the need arises!

Cindy Joyce is the CEO of Pillar Search & HR Consulting. Pillar provides national executive search services for exceptional non-profits and foundations and socially responsible for-profit firms desiring top talent who want an occupassion, not just an occupation. In addition, Pillar offers human resources consulting services including leadership coaching, human resources audits, handbooks, assessing organizational design, training, team building, and employee communications. A woman-owned business, Pillar is based in Boston, MA, and works on both the local and national level. Cindy is an Adjunct Professor with Suffolk University’s School of Management and a sought-after guest speaker. For more information, please visit or email Cindy at [email protected].

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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