Positive Self-Talk: What It Is, and How to Start

Pause for a moment, and recall your everyday conversations with yourself. What do you often say? Is it “I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I'm the right person to do this,” or “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from others and grow”?

This internal monologue is called self-talk. It is influenced by your subconscious mind, and as a result, it reveals your thoughts, beliefs, questions, and ideas. As it is a manifestation of self-love, it can either be negative or positive; it can be encouraging or distressing. Positive self-talk can enhance your performance and general well-being and can help manage your stress effectively. And in contrast, negative thinking and pessimism are actually self-limiting, and can definitely sabotage your current and future successes.

The Benefits of Positive Self-Talk

Beyond your moods, a more optimistic outlook can actually give you health benefits such as improved immune function, better cardiovascular health, and enhanced physical well-being. Positive self-talk can also help you build better self-awareness, which is crucial not only for personal happiness, but also for business success. Knowing yourself well, understanding sources of negativity, and assessing your own behaviours are all important things that can help you regulate emotions, work on your weaknesses, and build your strengths in healthy ways. So if you want to be successful, you must learn to shift your inner dialogue to a more beneficial one.

How to Practice Positive Self-Talk

The first step is to listen to what your inner monologue is saying. Is it mostly positive or negative? If you were to have that conversation with a loved one, would you be comfortable? Have you heard your friends or family talk to you in that manner? Are common themes repeated? Write down those important or frequent negative thoughts.

Now that you have identified what you are saying, exert an effort to be kinder to yourself, even if it feels odd at first, and turn those negative thoughts into positive. The next time you find yourself stressing about something or thinking that you cannot accomplish a challenge, stop and see if you can come up with a positive replacement. If you cannot, then turn those negative words to more neutral ones, so you can at least neutralize your experience. For instance, instead of thinking, “I don't have the skills to finish this before the deadline!,” tell yourself, “I’ll do my very best to finish on time, and if I fail now, I can do better next time.”

You might also be used to saying “I can’t handle this!” or “This is impossible!”. Now, if you find yourself limiting the possibilities of a given situation before it even begins, stop and challenge yourself instead. “How can I handle this?” or “How is this possible?” sounds better than the usual, right? Focus on what you can do to change what you do not like about yourself, your life, or your surroundings. Afterwards, give yourself a mental pat on the back and feel good about what you are doing for yourself.

If you still find it difficult to uplift your self-esteem, or if you want to improve the way you communicate to yourself, you can also attend self-esteem and assertiveness workshops. There, you can also learn how to resolve conflict, set boundaries, and assert yourself. Remember, if you wish to be successful, you need to envision the life you want to live. In your journey towards being the best that you were meant to be, do not let any negativity — especially from yourself — dampen the fire within.


exclusively written for familycentre.org

by Ruby Jade


You can read more mental health advice here.

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