What is Self-Talk?
Author; Martha Dawson
Self-talk can either transform your personal goals into successful accomplishments or amplify your challenges depending on the nature of your inner dialogue. Almost constantly, there is an inner dialogue running through our minds of which we may or may not be aware. This inner dialogue is what is known as self-talk and it may be positive or negative depending on your general mood, habits and life experiences. How you talk to yourself has a direct effect on self-confidence, self-esteem and the likeliness of you succeeding at new tasks.
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When your self-talk serves to encourage, support or affirm your level of ability or your overall self you are practicing positive self-talk. Positive thinking and positive self-talk plays a huge role in the outcome of any task that we commit to doing. Listed below are some examples of positive self-talk.
- I can do this.
- I have the ability to get through this situation.
- I am capable of winning.
- This pain will pass.
- I am provided for.
Negative self-talk on the other hand is just the opposite. It detracts from the goodness of who you are and wages an internal war between the things you wish to accomplish and your ability to actually do so. It is natural for negative thoughts to arise and when it happens a quick reframing is in order. By reframing your negative thoughts you set into motion a space of positive energy that will aid in particular successes and your overall well-being. Say for example, you want to return to college after an extended absence. Your thoughts, feelings, and inner dialogue about returning to school will affect your experience. Telling yourself that you can commit to studying and that you have the ability to excel will serve your purpose far greater than harboring over any perceived difficulties or personal limitations. When you remember to act in kindness towards yourself with thoughts and words it is like creating a life buffer which serves to protect and support your endeavors if any challenges are to arise.
Tips for Positive Thinking
- Boost Self-esteem. Try new behaviors, which can lead to a sense of accomplishment like giving of your time to help a cause that you are passionate about or learning a new skill. By doing so you boost your self-esteem and in turn the way you speak to yourself will become more positive.
- Affirmations. Focus on what is right and work through your challenges with kindness towards yourself. When you dwell on every little thing that can go wrong in a situation often we overlook the things which are positive. Affirm what is going right in your life. Affirm the positive side that is in all things.
- Increase Your Awareness. Imagine yourself in the grocery store shopping. As you pick up a loaf of bread you notice that the price has gone up. Instantly there’s a reaction and so begins the inner dialogue. Mentally you could be deciding if you are to purchase it or not. Perhaps you begin thinking about your recent lay-off which leads you to thoughts about your financial status. This one task, selecting bread, can trigger any number of positive or negative thoughts and is a an example of how the consistent self-talk happens. Only through awareness you begin to separate the thinker which is your from the thoughts that arise within you. By increasing awareness of your constant stream of thoughts you can identify those that are negative and began to replace/reframe those thoughts so that they are self-serving.
- The Inner Smile. In grade school I remember hearing that putting a smile on your face was easier to do than having a frown. As a child, I remember trying it out and actually noticing that it took less effort to smile. One way to change negative feelings to positive ones is with a simple smile concentrated on different parts of your body. So the next time you feel tension, stress, worry or doubt connect with the space in your body that harbors the ill state, put a smile on your face and practice mentally moving the smile to the affected points in the body. This will instantly stop the negative self-talk and restore a level emotional balance.