We all have internal conversations with ourselves throughout the day. We think to ourselves when we drive, wash dishes, and even occasionally when our attention fades during the work hours. These internal conversations tend to reflect who we feel we are as an individual and how we experience the world around us. This is called self-talk.
There are two major types of self-talk- negative and positive. Unfortunately, out of the 70,000 thoughts we have per day, nearly 80% of them are negative. This can be extremely detrimental to our personal well-being. In order to sustain our physical and mental well-being, it is crucial to pay attention to our thought patterns and practice positive self-talk.
What Is Negative Self-Talk?
Negative self talk is when we internally, or externally, converse with ourselves in a negative manner. These conversations with ourselves are made up of pessimistic perceptions and emotions about who we are and what we’ve experienced. Negative self-talk is done far too often, because unfortunately, it’s easier for our brains to hold onto negative experiences over positive ones.
What Is Positive Self-Talk?
Positive self-talk is when we internally, or externally, converse with ourselves in a positive way. During these one-sided conversations we show ourselves compassion and understanding for who we are and the experiences we’ve been through. Unfortunately, it’s not as natural to talk to ourselves this way. With a little bit of practice, talking positively to ourselves will become easier.
3 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk
- Monitor your thought patterns
Be hyper aware of the way in which you speak to yourself. Monitor what you say out loud to yourself and what your inner voice says as well. Discipline your thoughts by setting reminders on your phone to help you observe the type of thoughts you’re having. You can also place a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you think negatively. Ask yourself:
- “What form of self-talk am I practicing?”
- “Do my thoughts serve me in a useful way?”
- “How can I reword my thoughts in a positive manner?”
2. Switch the narrative
Dr. Wayne Dyer said it best when he said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change”. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a loved one. If a friend or family member said “I am a failure and I am never going to succeed” you would reply with “you will learn from your mistakes and make huge accomplishments”. Speak to yourself in the same manner.
- Instead of saying “I am a failure”, say “my failures will set me up for great success”
- Instead of saying “I always make mistakes”, say “I will learn from my mistakes and be better next time”
- Instead of “I can’t do that”, say “I can learn to do that”
3. Weave it into your routine
Be consistent and hold yourself accountable. Practice self talk in the morning by using positive affirmations that start with “I am…” and “I will…” Write down your positive affirmations on post-it notes, and place them where you’ll see them often. Set daily reminders on your phone that say, “you are doing a great job”, or “be kind to yourself today”. As you get better at positive self-talk, begin to change your behavior so it matches what you say about yourself. For example, if you tell yourself “I love my body”, then feed it nutritious food and exercise.
Through the process of change it’s important to be aware, practice patience, and stay consistent. As you slowly start to change your habits, your mental and physical health will improve, and your life will change for the better!
By: Danielle Lasky, CPT Zero Doubt Club