Positive vs. Negative Self-Talk
There’s one person that we all have to spend 24 hours a day with – ourselves. And to be honest, spending all that time together can be difficult. Think about all the things you say to yourself throughout the day. How many of your thoughts are meant to lift you up, and how many bring you down? Who we believe we are and our self-worth is determined by whether our self-talk is positive or negative. We say things to ourselves that we’d never say to another person. If your coworker forgot their phone and started calling themselves an idiot over it, you probably wouldn’t agree with them! In fact, you’re likely to tell them that while it’s unfortunate, we all forget things sometimes. But how often do we offer this same understanding to ourselves? How likely are we to call ourselves an idiot for forgetting our phone or other similar circumstances? Most of us could benefit from introducing more positive self-talk into our lives. What we tell ourselves, whether fact or fiction, reflects how we see ourselves in the world. Think about all the things you say to yourself throughout the day. How many of your thoughts are meant to lift you up, and how many bring you down? Self-Talk Self-talk is the manifestation of our thoughts and beliefs. Your thoughts are the source of your emotions and mood. The conversations you have with yourself can be destructive or beneficial. They influence how you feel about yourself and how you respond to events in your life. When I use the term self-talk, I’m referring to that voice in our heads — all the thoughts in our minds that sound like one or both sides of a conversation. It’s the internal narrative you hold about yourself. Self-talk is so important as these are the messages that determine whether you should keep trying or not. The messages you send yourself can either help you succeed, or they can hold you back and keep you paralyzed in fear. Negative Self-Talk We all have an inner critic. At times this little voice can actually be helpful. It keeps us motivated toward goals—like when it reminds us that what we're about to eat isn't healthy or what we're about to do may not be wise. However, this voice can often be more harmful than helpful, particularly when it gets into the realm of excessive negativity. This is known as negative self-talk, and it can really bring us down. Negative self-talk makes you feel pretty crappy about yourself and the things that are going on. It can put a downer on anything, even something good. Negative self-talk is that inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself. In your own abilities, and to reach your potential. It is any thought that diminishes your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in yourself to do so. Positive Self-Talk Positive self-talk expresses compassion, love, and understanding of what you have been through and who you are. It’s an inner monologue that makes you feel good about yourself and the things that are going on in your life. It’s an optimistic voice in your head that encourages you to look at the bright side, pick yourself up when you fall and recognize when you fail. Over time, engaging in more positive self-talk can help reduce stress. It can improve self-esteem and increase motivation. It can inspire productivity, and improve your overall mental and physical health. Here are ways to incorporate positive self-talk: Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them. Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison never leads anywhere good in your head; it only fills your mind with negative thoughts and self-doubt. Reaffirm how awesome you are, and that your awesomeness has nothing to do with anyone else. Use positive affirmations. It's an extraordinary tool to counteract negative beliefs, thoughts and self-talk. Some examples below: I have the power to change my mind. Attempting to do this took courage and I am proud of myself for trying. Even though it wasn’t the outcome I hoped for, I learned a lot about myself. I might still have a way to go, but I am proud of how far I have already come. I am capable and strong, I can get through this. Tomorrow is a chance to try again, with the lessons learned from today. I will give it my all to make this work. I can’t control what other people think, say or do. I can only control me. I can learn from this situation and grow as a person. Over time, engaging in more positive self-talk can help reduce stress. If you find yourself focusing mostly on the negative, gently bring your mind to think about what's good in your life. Or at least on what can be done to move past these stressful situations. Don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking. To change the way we think will help us achieve beliefs, trust in self and improve our communication with others. Your mind will always believe what we feed it, therefore try to feed it positive things like - hope, love and truth. If you feel you are still not good enough with this practice, ask a friend to help or seek a therapist. Connect with a Lotus Theory therapist.