You’re going through your day-to-day, keeping up with work, maintaining your relationships and doing your absolute best. Enter the “obnoxious roommate” living in your head, who shows up to put you down and tell you that you’re not good enough.

In moments like these, quieting that pesky voice can be tricky — and for most of us, positive self-talk doesn’t come easy. That’s why we asked the Thrive Global community what phrases help boost their mood and confidence when the negative thoughts come flooding in. These were some of our favorite suggestions, which range from funny to poignant — and are all inspiring!

Which of these will you try telling yourself the next time your obnoxious roommate shows up?


“You’ve slayed bigger dragons than this one.”

“When something challenging arises and I feel shaky, I think of the obstacles I’ve overcome in the five different countries I’ve lived in, the numerous relationships I’ve fallen in and out of, and the professional ups and downs that have led to my current position, and I think of this phrase. Then, like my (Australian) Mum, I get on with it.”

Kirsten, design management, San Francisco, CA


“You are strong and you’ve got this.”

“Those are the two things that I forget first when self-doubt creeps in, so having this mantra is perfect for my replenishment.”

Vanessa Leikvoll, corporate wellness, Great Barrington, MA


“Can you say it in a nicer way?”

“I got annoyed with my daughter some years ago for not putting away her toys before getting more out. She looked at me and said, ‘I hear what you are saying, Mama, but can you say it in a nicer way?’ I was stunned by her wisdom. I use that phrase now with my inner critic, who actually might have some valid concerns but a lousy way of expressing them.”

Linda Ugelow, stage fright coach, Bedford, MA


“Figure it out.”

“This works for me because it helps my mind shift to analytical mode instead of emotional. When I’m overwhelmed by a project or second guessing myself professionally, I say this out loud because it reminds me I can find solutions to anything. I’ve been able to figure out so many things… why not this?”

Rebekah Storm, copywriter and body confidence coach, UK


“What’s important now?”

“For most of us, generic affirmations don’t actually work. Mantras are only effective if they trigger the thoughts, emotions, focus, and/or actions they are intended to produce. So when the voice in my head is too loud or active, or is taking me down the wrong road, I ask myself, ‘what’s important now?’ to help lead me in the right direction.”

Lauren S. Tashman, Ph.D., CMPC, mental performance coach, New York, NY


“That moment is gone.”

“I started telling myself this on the golf course because I couldn’t fix the last bad shot, but I could focus on the next one. My scores started to drop. I applied it to my everyday life and found that it helped me stay focused on moving forward instead of looking back. I can’t change what happened 20 years ago or 20 minutes ago. I can change what I am doing right now. I can change how I react to this moment right here. It helps me stay in the present and prepare for what’s ahead.”

Nicole Duncan, photographer, New Milton, UK


“I’m freezing you out.”

“To quiet negative self-talk, I tell the obnoxious roommate in my head to get lost and stay lost by freezing her out. Literally. I’ll fill each of my hands with ice cubes, hold tightly, and count to five. Then ditch her in the closest sink or trash can, and assure myself, ‘I am fine. I am capable. All is well.’”

SaraKay Smullens; clinical social worker, family therapist, author; Philadelphia, PA


“There is always a door number three.”

“In life and in writing, there is always a solution. It’s not about thinking outside the box, it’s about creating the box that works for you. When I remind myself of this I’m reminding myself that I can do anything. I can solve anything. It’s about finding what works for me in any situation. If I’ve painted myself into a corner… I figure out how to paint myself back out. Don’t give up. You’ll always find not just ‘a’ way, but ‘the’ way. There is always a door number three.”

Christina Trevaskis, author coach and editor, La Crosse, WI


“Be a diamond.”

“I find that when I’m feeling down, out loud affirmations and repetitions actually reiterate my subconscious thoughts. I’ll tell myself, ‘Hey girl, pull it together. My emotions and body are up to me. Be a diamond. Unbreakable. Built under pressure.’”

Christina Ledo, fitness professional, New York, NY


“Try me.”

“Whenever I’m doubting myself or I have bad thoughts spiraling throughout my head, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and repeat this beautiful phrase I once saw in the Baale Mane Gopalapura’s Instagram feed: ‘When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say ‘why me?’, say ‘try me.’ So, I say ‘try me’ and I know I can endure.”

—Milagros Di Bella, financial communications, Buenos Aires, Argentina


“Which wolf will you feed?”

“My grandfather used to tell me the story of the ‘Two Wolves’ — a Cherokee Indian legend that illustrates one of the most common and most important battles of our lives: the one between our good and bad thoughts. When the two wolves go to war, the result comes down to which wolf you feed. So when the negative thoughts start to close in, I feed the good wolf. I’ve shared the story with my kids. When one of them has had a bad day or is struggling with a task, they remind each other to feed the good wolf as well. The story lives on.”

Carina Bates, writer and communications specialist, East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia


“Where you look is where you go.”

“This one phrase does it for me. When I find myself stressed I say the acronym to myself, ‘WYLIWYG.’ First of all, it’s a cute word making me smile. Then I think of its meaning: It’s a quick reminder to redirect what my mind is looking at. If I look at fear, I become the fear. If I look at the obnoxious roommate, I become the obnoxious roommate. Distractions need to be acknowledged, processed and prioritized, but I stay in control of my mind.”

—Craig Dubecki, cognitive coach, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada


“Will this matter in three months?”

“Whenever I am bogged down by an issue and start feeling overwhelmed by it, I try to take a moment to calm down by asking myself if the situation on hand at the moment will have any significance by the end of the day or in three days/months. Will it really continue to be so important to me that I should fret over it? More often than not the answer that pops up in my head is a big no! This is my operational mantra to take life head on.”

Supriya K., marketing, Pune, India


“You’re doing your best.”

“When I’m hit with negative self talk about a mistake I made, I say to myself ‘Most people are doing the best they can with the resources they have at the time — and that includes me.’ Once I let that empathy sink in for a moment, I ask myself what I can learn from my perceived failure. Is there something I could improve next time, or an alternate strategy to follow? Finding the learning in the event changes it from a waste to a stepping stone on my path of evolvement.”

Leila Ansart, success coach and speaker, Jacksonville Beach, FL


“Begin again.”

“Whenever I am being too hard on myself, I think of one simple phrase: ‘Begin again.’ It reminds me to forgive myself and move on. Whether I blew my diet for the day or my mind launched into a pattern of worrying or negative thoughts, I can always begin again.”

Rebecca, freelance writer/editor, Westlake, OH

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More from Thrive Global:

8 Things You Should Do After 8 P.M. If You Want to Be Happy and Successful

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.