Positive self-talk: can I learn to do it?
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
A person’s communication with themselves is called self-talk or internal dialogue. It is a natural process and people use self-talk silently or speak to themselves out loud; it can be positive or negative in nature.
Positive self-talk makes a person feel good about themselves. It can encourage and motivate a person to keep going, look on the “bright side,” and put things into perspective; benefitting mental health, performance, and relationships.
People may, however, also engage in negative self-talk (especially if they feel anxious or insecure or when they are in a situation where they lack confidence or self-belief). Negative self-talk can have a detrimental effect on a person’s self-esteem, self-worth, abilities, and lead to a vicious cycle (becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy).
Noticing negative self-talk and turning it around before it takes hold can help people think more positively and change their behaviours, as negative self-talk is a habit that people can change. The first step in making self-talk more positive is to identify negative thinking. A person can then think of more helpful things they can say to themselves in challenging situations. Some examples:
Turning Negative self-talk into Positive self-talk
"That is too difficult" becomes "It sounds challenging"
"I cannot do it" becomes "I will give it my best shot"
"I always mess things up" becomes "If I mess up, I will learn from it."
For someone who occasionally has negative thought patterns or self-talk, making lifestyle changes may help. For example, exercise and mindfulness or meditation can help to reduce anxiety and help a person feel more positive and relaxed.
But what if you try the above ideas and negative self-talk still affects you? Providing a Doctor has ruled out underlying conditions such as anxiety, depression, or OCD, you may benefit from external help such Counselling, CBT or Hypnotherapy (all of which can help you address the negative self-talk).
If this has struck a chord with you, why not start by doing things differently? Having a positive mindset is a choice. And if you can't do it alone, get in touch!