Self-Talk Yourself Positive
What is negative self-talk?
The way that we talk to ourselves is sometimes called ‘Self-Talk’ and is our internal dialogue. Sometimes the way that we talk to ourselves is helpful, kind, positive and constructive and this enables us to feel good about ourselves and live fulfilling lives. However, sometimes that self-talk is critical and negative, and this can lead to a variety of problems and prevent us from living a fulfilling life. Some examples of the kinds of things which we might say to ourselves when we are engaging in negative self-talk are:
“I can’t keep up with my workload. I’m useless.” “I can’t understand half the things my teacher talks about. I must be really stupid.” “I’m overweight. I am so fat and ugly.” “I’m worthless.” “I get really nervous talking to people I don’t know. I’m so socially awkward and I hate being like this!” “I’m such a loser.” “I’m unlovable.” “I’m not good enough.”
What causes negative self-talk?
Past and recent experiences infiltrate our conscious and subconscious minds and affect the way that we think, what we believe and how we see ourselves. When these experiences have been negative such as being bullied, being punished, neglected or abused, being criticized or judged by others or being around role models who are particularly negative, this can lead us to develop negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and to adopt a generally negative mindset. Having a negative mindset increases our tendency to focus on what is wrong or not how we want it to be. We may also look for examples of what we can’t do, what we haven’t done well or where we have made mistakes, or we set ourselves unrealistically high standards and criticise ourselves if we don’t meet them.
What are the consequences of negative self-talk?
If you regularly talk to yourself in a negative and critical way this reinforces all the existing negative beliefs you have about yourself, makes it hard for you to accept yourself as you are, and you may eventually develop low self-esteem. Many aspects of your life can be affected by this; you may feel more tired and less motivated, you might experience difficulties at work and in your relationships, your enjoyment of activities may be reduced, you might feel like avoiding things, and you might also feel depressed, anxious, ashamed, dejected and worthless.
What’s the alternative?
Moving away from negative self-talk, and focusing instead on your strengths and positive attributes can help you to change the way that you see yourself and become more accepting of yourself. Over time and with practice, regularly acknowledging your strengths and good qualities can help you to think in a healthier and more positive way, feel better about yourself and build self-esteem…Some other benefits of thinking positively include:
better quality of life
increased energy levels
improved psychological and physical health
faster recovery from injury or illness
lower rates of depression
improved stress management/coping skills
longer life span
So, how can I think more positively about myself?
There are many ways to reduce negative self-talk and increase positive thinking. One way is to choose two or three words each day - e.g. from the list below - which describe a strength/quality you have. Try to include each word in a sentence about yourself, as this provides evidence of how you have or use this quality…for example:
I am determined - I never give up until I complete my goals even when things get tough I am kind - I consider other peoples’ feelings and always try to be nice to them I am open-minded – I don’t judge others for their beliefs or opinions and try to treat others fairly It takes at least 3 weeks of regular practice to form a new habit, and for it to feel like your natural way of doing things. Positive thinking is no different - it is something you can learn to do over time and with practice - and the benefits make all that effort worthwhile.
So go on, give positive self-talk a try!
List of positive qualities
Open - minded