Whether you realize it or not, you talk to yourself all day. Self-talk is something you do naturally throughout your waking hours. It’s the thoughts that you have in response to everything happening. These conversations you have with yourself can be destructive or beneficial. They influence how you feel about yourself and the world around you, and how you respond to the events in your life.
Researchers have shown that positive self-talk is a powerful tool for increasing your self-confidence and sense of wellbeing. People who have positive self-talk are more confident, motivated, and productive.
Negative Self-Talk is Harmful
Before you can start trying to practice more positive thinking, you need to be able to recognize your negative self-talk. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four types of negative self-talk:
You magnify the negative part of every situation. If you gained two pounds this week, you beat yourself up and forget about the fact that you’ve lost 10 pounds in the previous weeks.
You put the blame for everything on yourself. If your friends cancel dinner plans, you assume it’s probably because they didn’t feel like spending the evening with you. You don’t consider that it’s because something came up or they’re just too busy.
You always expect the worst. For example, if you have something bad happen to you first thing in the morning, you’ll complain all day that you’re having a horrible day.
You either see things as perfect or terrible. If you get mad at your child and lose your temper, you beat yourself up for being an awful parent.
If you find yourself falling into any of these four categories often, you need to take the steps to change your self-talk to be more positive. That change in attitude has a lot of benefits.
Positive Self-Talk is Good for You
Positive self-talk has been proven to have the following health benefits:
- Increased vitality
- Greater satisfaction with life
- Improved immune function
- Reduced pain
- Better cardiovascular health
- Less stress
- Better physical wellbeing
It seems clear that if you don’t naturally use positive self-talk (and some people just naturally do), then you need to retrain your brain toward a more positive outlook.
How to Make the Switch
If it doesn’t come naturally to you, you’ll need to work at starting to talk to yourself more positively. Try to make these types of changes in your reactions:
Negative: I didn’t eat well today. I knew I’d fail at trying to eat healthy.
Positive: I didn’t eat well today, but I have most of the week. I’ll get back on track tomorrow and I’ll be fine.
Try to become more aware of the way you’re talking to yourself. You may not even realize how much negative self-talk you have each day.
Just remember—you can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you react to it.
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