If your teen struggles with negative self-talk the DBT mindfulness skill “Fact or Judgement” may be the solution. They can enjoy the moment without negative thinking.
Thoughts and Feelings aren’t Facts
Anybody who has worked with teens or has teens know that negative self-talk teens are very hard on themselves and this impacts their behavior. Using “Fact or Judgement” can help teens notice what’s happening in their mind and have more control over their emotions and reactions.
For example, if a teen fails a test in school they may think “I’m not good enough. I’m a failure. I’m never going to succeed in school.” Thoughts like this just keeps going and going in their head and by the time they get home they may not be willing to talk or have an angry outburst and as the parent you have no idea why. They may even not want to do their homework, or not want to go to school anymore.
When using “Fact or Judgment” helps teens observe their negative self-talk and ask themselves is this a fact, or is this a judgment? This will help to give emotional distance from the thought.
Teens can say: “I’m having the that I am stupid because I failed this test and this is a judgement. The fact is that I didn’t study. I am passing the class.”
This will in turn impact their behavior: If your teen is no longer feeling like a failure or stupid and has stopped the negative-self talk wheel, they may be more open to studying, going to school, talking to you, etc.
Don’t Let Your Thoughts Drive You
Remember don’t let your thoughts take control. Thoughts are not facts. Practice noticing your thoughts and letting them go. Remind yourself of what the facts of the situation are. Ask yourself what is true here? What amI reacting to?
Some teens have even mentioned that it is helpful gain distance from their thoughts by saying them out loud or talking to them in third person (ex. Lianna this negative thought is just a thought, your facts are…).
This doesn’t mean to invalidate our feelings, just to acknowledge that the thought is just a thought and a fact is fact.