How to Quiet the Inner Critic: Techniques for Mental Peace

Many of us have an inner voice that provides constant commentary on our actions, decisions, and thoughts. Often, our inner voice can turn critical, leading to self-doubt and anxiety. This can hold us back from achieving mental peace, so understanding how to quiet this inner critic is essential for our overall well-being.

Understanding the Inner Critic

The inner critic is that persistent voice in our heads that judges, criticizes, and demeans us. It’s the voice that says “Well that was stupid” when you make a mistake, or “She just doesn’t like you” when a coworker seems standoffish. Its critical and fearful nature often stems from societal pressures, past experiences, and internalized beliefs about ourselves. It’s there to keep you safe by “helping” you avoid danger. When we lived a more primal lifestyle, it was likely more helpful. “What’s that rustling sound in the bushes? You better get out of here!” was a mental observation that likely saved lives. 

Without any tigers to battle in our modern world, this voice has turned to protecting us from psychological damage: being rejected, feeling upset, being abandoned, etc. Your inner critic can manifest in various ways, such as self-doubt, perfectionism, and negative self-talk. Over time, a loud inner critic can significantly impact your mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Recognizing and understanding this critic is the first step towards silencing it.

Strategies to Quiet the Inner Critic

Separate Yourself from Your Inner Voice, Thoughts, & Emotions

We often get so wrapped up in our inner voice that we can forget something very important: the voice is not US. You are not the voice, and you are not your thoughts and your emotions. In your head, you are the observer of the voice, your thoughts, and your emotions. This is good news, because it means that you can choose not to get entangled in them. You can learn to observe your thoughts without attachment, eventually learning to let go of negative patterns. When unpleasant thoughts and emotions spring up and try to overwhelm you, you can sit back in your chair as the observer and let them pass before you without getting dragged down by them. This concept is crucial in dealing with the inner critic, as it helps us recognize that these negative thoughts do not define us.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools for achieving mental peace. By practicing mindfulness, we can become more aware of our thoughts and learn to observe them without judgment. Simple mindfulness exercises, such as focusing on your breath or observing your surroundings, can be practiced daily to cultivate a calmer mind (an easy way to get started is by using the S.T.O.P. method for mindfulness). Guided meditation techniques, like body scans or loving-kindness meditation, can also help us observe our thoughts and reduce the impact of the inner critic. Check out our previous post on meditation for some useful tips and resources to get started!


Self-compassion is essential in silencing the inner critic. It involves treating ourselves with the same kindness and understanding that we would offer a friend. Think about it: if a friend made a mistake, you wouldn’t tear them down. You’d say “It’s ok, everyone makes mistakes; it could happen to anyone.” The goal of practicing self-compassion is to extend this same kindness and grace to yourself. Techniques include self-affirmations, where you remind yourself of your strengths and positive qualities, and journaling, where you write compassionate letters to yourself. Developing a kinder inner dialogue can help counteract the negative messages from the inner critic.

Professional Support

It can be very hard to disentangle yourself from your inner critic and re-learn healthier thought patterns. Sometimes, negative self-talk can be so persistent and damaging that professional support is needed. Seeking help from a licensed mental health professional can provide you with tailored strategies to address your specific concerns. Therapies such as CBT and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) have proven effective in helping individuals manage their inner critics.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns. By recognizing the cognitive distortions that fuel the inner critic, we can reframe these thoughts into more positive and realistic ones. Practical exercises include keeping a thought diary, where you record negative thoughts and challenge them with evidence, and practicing cognitive restructuring to develop healthier thinking patterns. A licensed mental health professional will have the training and knowledge to apply CBT to your specific situation.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is another effective approach for managing the inner critic. It is useful for a variety of mental health issues, including pervasive negative self-talk. DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices to help you regulate your emotions and develop healthier ways of thinking. One of the core components of DBT is learning to balance acceptance and change. This means acknowledging and accepting negative thoughts without judgment, while also working to change unhelpful patterns. Skills taught in DBT, such as distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness, can equip you with tools to respond to the inner critic in a more balanced and compassionate way. By incorporating DBT, you can learn to observe your inner critic, understand its origins, and gradually reduce its influence, leading to greater mental peace and resilience.

Therapy for Negative Self-Talk

At Medens Health, we offer a range of services and support to combat negative self-talk and foster self-compassion. Our team of licensed mental health professionals uses a wide range of techniques to assist you on your journey to a quieter mind and a happier life, all personalized to your needs. 

Take the first step to mental peace today - call or text (833) 624-5400, fill out our contact form, or get started here!


The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information this blog provides is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.

If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.