You're at your wit's end. You've tried every diet and workout regimen out there, but nothing seems to work. You feel like you're never going to be able to lose weight and get in shape. Your inner voice starts to reflect these negative beliefs: "I'm so fat," "I'll never be able to lose weight," "I'm such a failure." But what if there was a way to change your self-talk and feel better about yourself whether you've reached your goal or not?
One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to self love is not knowing how to talk to themselves in a positive way.
I know it can be tough to change your internal dialogue, but it's so worth it. In this article, we'll explore the topic of positive self-talk, including what it is, the benefits of positive self-talk, and how to turn overcome negative thinking by turning it into positive self-talk. We'll also provide some tips on how to engage in positive self-talk on a daily basis with practical positive self talk examples. Finally, we'll provide resources for readers who are looking to turn negative self talk into positive self-talk.
What is self talk?
Self talk is the inner dialogue that we have with ourselves. It's the internal monologue that plays in our heads all day long, shaping our beliefs and attitudes about ourselves and the world around us. Our internal dialogue can be positive or negative, and is usually made up of the conscious and unconscious beliefs we hold about ourselves.
Positive self talk is a form of self talk that focuses on the positive aspects of ourselves. while negative self talk focuses on what we perceive to be negative aspects of ourselves.
Negative self talk
You don't have to be a negative person to experience negative thoughts. Even positive people have negative thoughts from time to time, but if left unchecked, negative thinking can become a constant habit that is detrimental to your daily life. This negative self-talk can take many different forms, from put-downs and self-criticism to doubts and fears, that are usually rooted in preconceived ideas you have about yourself.
It can be develop from a variety of ways, including past experiences, current challenges, and outside influences. Maybe you were always the "smart one" in your family, so you feel like you have to be perfect. Or maybe you had a traumatic experience in the past that made you feel shame. Or maybe you grew up in a household where your family members were constantly putting you down.
However it formed, when your personal commentary is an endless stream of negative thoughts about yourself, it is a destructive habit that can lead to negative thinking and negative feelings. Over time, negative self-talk can lead to a lack of self confidence, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. If it goes unhealed, it can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy, causing you to underachieve or even give up on your goals entirely.
The good news is that negative self-talk is something that can be changed. By recognizing the thoughts and patterns that contribute to it and identifying the source of your negative thoughts, you can start to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. With practice, you can train your mind to think more positively, which will lead to better choices, improved relationships, and increased success in all areas of your life.
What impact does negative self talk have?
Negative thinking can have a profound impact on our lives. It can make us more susceptible to stress and illness, and can lead to negative feelings, like low self-esteem and anxiety. It can even influence our behavior and can also lead to unhealthy coping skills, such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm.
It can prevent us from reaching our full potential, because we start to believe the negative things we're saying about ourselves. For example, if we believe that we're not good enough, we may be less likely to pursue our goals.
The more we engage with negative self talk, the more we subconsciously reinforce negative limiting beliefs about ourselves. This creates a vicious cycle that keeps us stuck in the same loop, constantly telling ourselves the same harmful things, feeling the same ways about ourselves, and acting on those same negative, limiting beliefs. This, essentially, keeps our internal and external world exactly the same as it's always been with little to no change.
Understanding the above, our inner monologue uncovers our subconscious beliefs about ourselves. If we tune into our inner critic, it will tell us how we feel about ourselves and where our perceived limitations are. When we take this approach, we can use our negative thoughts as a roadmap to our healing.
So it's important to be aware of the power of negative self-talk, and to learn how to counter it with positive thoughts if we want to change our lives and how we feel about ourselves.
Identifying negative thinking
Not sure what negative thinking is? Some common forms of negative self-talk include:
- Blaming. You try to say someone else is responsible for what happened to you instead of yourself, and avoid being responsible for your thoughts and feelings.
- Catastrophizing. You automatically assume that the worst will happen wthout having facts. You believe that you’re in a worse situation than you really are or exaggerating the difficulties you face. You think you did poorly on a test, and then assume you won't ever get a job.
- Filtering. Focusing only on the negative aspects of a situation and filtering out all of the positive ones. For example, you had a great day at work. You gave a presentation and noticed one coworker left the room during it. Afterwards, you were complimented for doing a great job by multiple coworkers. That evening, you focus only on the one person who left the room and wonder if he would have stayed if your presentation was more interesting.
- Perfectionism. Keeping impossible standards for yourself and your actions to be perfect.
- Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, a friend is upset, and you assume that the change in mood is because of something you said.
- Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground.
- Saying you "should" do something. You think of all the things you think you should do and blame yourself for not doing them.
- Magnifying. You make a big deal out of minor problems.
What is positive self-talk?
Positive self-talk is a form of self-talk that focuses on the positive aspects of yourself and your situation. It is the practice of speaking kindly and encouragingly to yourself, no matter what you're experiencing. It is a way of increasing your positive outlook and accepting yourself for who you are.
Positive self-talk can sound like:
- I am worthy of love and respect.
- Even though I'm not there yet, I am capable of reaching my goals.
- I am strong enough to handle whatever comes my way.
- I am not perfect, and that's okay.
- I may have made a mistake, but I am doing the best I can.
- My thoughts may not reflect it right now, but I believe I can be a positive person.
- I am allowed to make mistakes.
- I am loved.
- I am enough.
When you engage in positive self talk, you are giving yourself compassion and understanding. This can be incredibly helpful when you are facing challenges or feeling down, as it can help you to see the silver lining in every situation. Positive self talk is also incredibly crucial in difficult times, because it forces you to neglect old habits of destructive thoughts and replace them with ones of self acceptance and compassion.
What are the benefits of positive self-talk?
Positive self-talk has a number of benefits for our physical, emotional, and mental health. Here are 10 benefits of positive self talk:
- Helps to shift your focus from negative to positive
- Aids in developing a more optimistic outlook
- Can boost confidence and motivation
- May help to reduce stress and anxiety levels
- Can improve overall mental physical well-being
- May help to increase productivity
- Can foster better decision making
- Encourages positive self-image and body image
- Helps to build resilience in stressful situations
- Aids in developing self love and a more positive relationship with yourself
Related: 21 Reasons Why Self Love is Important
What does positive self-talk do to your brain?
When we engage in positive self-talk, we are essentially rewiring our brain to think more positively about ourselves.
By repeating positive thoughts about yourself, you start to reprogram your subconscious mind to believe those things. The repetition of the new positive beliefs slowly overwrites the old limiting beliefs which reprograms your subconscious to think and belief healthy things about yourself. These beliefs then shape your actions and contribute to the overall results you achieve in life. This is because the things when we focus on the negative, we tend to believe the negative things we're saying about ourselves, which leads to negative thinking patterns, which leads to negative emotions, which leads to negative actions which then further reinforces the negative beliefs about yourself to your subconscious.
However, when we focus on the positive, we are more likely to believe the positive things we're saying about ourselves, which will lead to positive thinking patterns, which will lead to positive emotions like increased self-esteem, which will lead to positive actions which then further reinforces the positive beliefs about yourself to your subconscious!
How to Improve Your Self-Talk
1. Making a Commitment to Change
The first step in improving your self-talk is to make a commitment to change. This means making a conscious effort to change so that you can put your well being first. It doesn't happen overnight, but over time, it will become easier and more natural to focus on the positive.
2. Be aware of your negative self-talk.
The next step is to be aware of your negative self-talk. This means taking notice of the things you say to yourself when you're feeling down or stressed. Pay attention to the thoughts that run through your head when you're facing a difficult situation. Are you hard on yourself? Do you put yourself down? Do you focus on the negative aspects of the situation? Once you're aware of your negative self-talk, you can begin to challenge it.
Tip: Spent a few days or a week on this step. Tune into your thoughts daily, and keep a journal close to you to jot down what your inner critic is saying. Pay attention to moments when your emotions are high, or you are feeling down, what are your thoughts saying?
3. Identify your personal triggers for negative self-talk
Another way to improve your self-talk is to identify your trigger points. Trigger points are the situations or events that tend to trigger negative self-talk. Once you identify your trigger points, you will have a better understanding of when your negative self talk occurs and can better prepare yourself for the future. For example, if you find that you tend to engage in negative self-talk after making a mistake, remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that it's okay to be imperfect.
Bringing awareness to these trigger points is helpful because it allows you to have a plan when they inevitably happen again.
Tip: After spending some time during the week tuning into your thoughts and writing down your self talk, you might be able to find some patterns in when your negative self talk starts. The commonality in these patterns are most likely your trigger points.
4. Challenge your negative thoughts by turning self-limiting statements into questions
The next step is to challenge your negative self-talk. This means questioning the thoughts that run through your head. Are they really true? Do they help you in any way? Are there more positive ways to look at the situation?
One way to start turning negative self-talk into positive self-talk is to turn self-limiting statements into questions. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, "I'm not good enough," ask yourself, "Why do I believe that?" Or, if you find yourself thinking, "I can't do this," ask yourself, "What would happen if I did?" By turning self-limiting statements into questions, we can start to explore the beliefs that are driving our negative self-talk, and begin to question whether or not they are true.
5. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations
One way to challenge negative self-talk is to replace it with positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are statements that we say to ourselves in order to change our thinking patterns. For example, if you find yourself thinking, "I'm not good enough," you can replace that thought with the affirmation, "I am good enough." Or, if you find yourself thinking, "I can't do this," you can replace that thought with the affirmation, "I can do hard things."
Affirmations can be an effective tool for changing our thinking patterns, but it's important to make sure that they are realistic and believable. If you're not sure where to start, here are some positive self talk affirmations that you can use:
- I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.
- I am worthy of love and respect.
- I am strong, resilient, and courageous.
- I am not my mistakes, I am so much more than that.
Tip: Pick 1-3 affirmations that resonate with you and that you can believe. Write them down on some cards or post-its, and put them in places where you are frequently. Read them when you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk.
6. Reframe your thoughts
Another way to challenge negative self-talk is to reframe your thoughts. This means looking at the situation from a different perspective. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, "I'm such a loser," try to reframe that thought by saying to yourself, "I'm doing my best." Or, if you find yourself thinking, "This is never going to work out," try to reframe that thought by saying to yourself, "I'll be okay no matter what happens."
By reframing our thoughts, we can start to see the situation in a more positive light. This can be helpful when we're feeling down about ourselves or when we're facing a difficult challenge.
Tip: Keep a running list of each time you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk. Write down the thought, and then use either of the techniques in steps 4, 5 , or 6 to write a more positive or realistic thought to replace it.
7. Practice self-compassion
One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to practice being compassionate to ourselves. This means being kind and understanding towards ourselves, even when we make mistakes. It means recognizing that we are human beings, and that we deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
Self-compassion can be a powerful tool for combating negative self-talk. When we are compassionate towards ourselves, we are less likely to be critical and judgmental. We are more likely to treat ourselves with kindness and understanding, which can help us feel better about ourselves.
Here is what being compassionate to yourself can sound like:
- I'm so sorry that you're going through this.
- It's okay that you made a mistake.
- You're doing the best you can.
- This is a difficult situation, and you're handling it the best you can.
- I love you, no matter what.
Related: 8 Practical Ways To Be Kind To Yourself, No Matter What Life Throws At You
8. Practice positive self-talk daily.
One of the best ways to engage in positive self-talk is to make it a daily practice. This means setting aside time each day to focus on positive thinking. It can be helpful to set a daily reminder, or to put a note in your calendar.
This sounds cheesy! But the only way positive self talk will become a habit is if you take the intentional time out of the day to implement it. It's easy to fall back into old habits, but the more you make positive thinking an intentional act, the quicker you will start to experience the benefits of positive self talk.
Tip: try keeping a journal, and writing down 3-5 things that you appreciate about yourself each day. This can help you focus on the positive things in your life, and it can help you to see yourself in a more positive light.
9. Be patient with yourself as you work on changing your self-talk
It's important to be patient with yourself as you work on changing your self-talk. This is a process that takes time, and there will be setbacks along the way. But if you are persistent, and you keep working at it, you will eventually start to see a change in your thinking patterns.
10. Find someone who can act as a support system and offer encouragement when needed
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to find someone who can act as a support system. This person can offer encouragement when needed, and they can help you to stay on track with your positive thinking goals. If you don't have anyone in your life who can fill this role, there are many professionals who specialize in helping people change their thinking patterns. You can also find support groups or online communities that can offer encouragement and advice.
11. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem!
It's important to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. This can help you to feel good about yourself, and it can motivate you to keep going. Acknowledge each step you take towards changing your internal dialogue, and give yourself credit for the progress you are making.
When to seek help
If you find that your negative self-talk is impacting your mental health, your ability to function in day-to-day life, or if you're experiencing significant distress, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can assist you in identifying negative thinking, exploring the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to your negative self-talk, and can provide guidance and support as you work to develop more positive self-talk.
If you’re looking for affordable therapy options, check out Psychology Today or Open Path.
Positive self-talk is a powerful tool that can help us to feel better about ourselves and improve our emotional physical, and mental health. It can help you to achieve your goals by increasing your motivation and confidence. It can help you to see situations in a new light and find the strength to keep going. As a result, one of the biggest benefits of positive self talk is that it can lead to a happy and successful life.
If you're struggling with negative self-talk, remember that you can change the way you think about yourself. Start by turning self-limiting statements into questions, identifying your trigger points, and making a commitment to change. With time and practice, you can develop more positive self-talk and improve your overall well-being.
Though positive thinking may take a little while to become a natural habit, the benefits of positive self talk are worth it!
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