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The power of positive self-talk

Health Industry Hub | October 23, 2019 |
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It’s not uncommon for most of us to keep a running dialogue inside our heads. This dialogue can range from giving ourselves instructions while we carry out a task, random observations about our environment or a situation, or it could be what is often referred to as self-talk.

Self-talk is the internal narrative you hold about yourself. It’s your inner voice and you may or may not have spent much time thinking about it or giving it any attention. The truth is, our self-talk can actually have a much bigger influence on the way we see ourselves, and the world around us than we realise.

Negative Self-Talk

Our patterns of self-talk are all too often negative – we focus on preconceived ideas that we’re ‘not good enough’ or ‘always a failure’ or ‘can’t do anything right’. Our brains are hardwired to remember negative experiences over positive ones, so we recall the times we didn’t quite get it right more than the times we do. We then replay these messages in our minds, fuelling negative feelings (Jantz, 2016).

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk, as you may have guessed, is the flip of negative self-talk. It’s not about narcissism, or deceiving ourselves into thinking things that are inaccurate. It’s more about showing yourself some self-compassion and understanding for who you are and what you’ve been through (Jantz, 2019).

Positive self-talk sees our internal narrative switching to ideas like ‘I can do better next time’ or ‘I choose to learn from my mistakes, not be held back by them’.

What Does the Research Say?

In terms of how impactful positive self-talk can be, the research unanimously agrees it’s quite a lot. Changing the way you talk to yourself can have a proactive roll-on effect in behaviour changes.

Todd, Oliver, and Harvey (2011) carried out a review of the literature and research surrounding self-talk and unanimously found that positive self-talk interventions are effective in mediating cognitive and behavioural change.

Benefits of Positive Self-Talk

  • Helps to Reduce Stress
  • Helps to Boost Confidence and Resilience
  • Helps Build Better Relationships

Examples of Positive Self-Talk Statements

  1. I have the power to change my mind.
  2. Attempting to do this took courage and I am proud of myself for trying.
  3. Even though it wasn’t the outcome I hoped for, I learned a lot about myself.
  4. I might still have a way to go, but I am proud of how far I have already come.
  5. I am capable and strong, I can get through this.
  6. Tomorrow is a chance to try again, with the lessons learned from today.
  7. I will give it my all to make this work.
  8. I can’t control what other people think, say or do. I can only control me.
  9. This is an opportunity for me to try something new.
  10. I can learn from this situation and grow as a person.

TedTalk

Guy Winch, psychologist and author, asks us to take our emotional health as seriously as we take our physical health.

Source: https://positivepsychology.com


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