Practicing positive self-talk is more important than ever right now. In a time with so many uncertainties, it can be hard to keep a positive outlook on life. Take a moment to reflect—do you make a conscious effort to talk to yourself with compassion and love or are you operating with a negative inner monologue?
The truth is, you may not even be aware of how you’re communicating with yourself. This article will help you to understand the difference between positive and negative self-talk, the benefits of creating an empowering inner dialogue, and how to turn negative self-talk into a positive internal voice.
What is Self-Talk?
Self-talk is the natural internal dialogue that’s going on in your head whenever you’re awake, both consciously and subconsciously. Whether it’s about thoughts on life, reflecting on events of your day, or personal commentary, your self-talk will be the biggest determining factor in how you experience life.
Your self-talk has a huge impact on how you view yourself and the world around you. If you find that your inner monologue is driven by negativity most of the time, then your mental health will likely suffer. It’s hard to see the silver lining in a difficult situation if you’re only focusing on the negative. This can become consuming and prevent you from seeing the results you want in every area of your life.
What you say to yourself consciously and subconsciously will dictate how you handle every single situation that arises. Your thoughts create your feelings, which create your behavior—which ultimately determines your experience.
So, when did all of this negative self-talk start? For most people, it’s learned during childhood. Do you find yourself constantly telling yourself that you’re “a failure” or “not good enough?” Perhaps you’ve had this internal dialogue for as long as you can remember. Whether you‘re aware of it or not, a pessimistic inner voice like this directly impacts your well-being.
When negative self-talk becomes the norm, it’s toxic to your mental health. The negativity creates unnecessary distress, making it even harder to cope with challenging situations. The more negative self-talk you have, the more stressful you’re going to perceive everything that comes your way. This often leads to ruminating, which is a negative thought pattern and vicious cycle that is detrimental to your mental health.
On the other hand, positive self-talk is the exact opposite. It doesn’t mean pretending that everything in life is perfect—the human experience isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Positive self-talk is all about reframing how you view things. It’s about consciously choosing to find ways to improve rather than beating yourself up over a particular outcome or blaming yourself when a situation doesn’t go the way you had planned.
When practiced regularly, positive self-talk is powerful. It feels supportive, compassionate, and motivating, rather than judgemental and self-critical. An empowering and self-compassionate internal dialogue sounds like “I’ll try harder next time” instead of “I can’t believe I made that mistake again.” The more you practice positive self-talk, the world around you will automatically begin to transform.
Benefits of Positive Self-Talk
A shift in the way you think and speak to yourself can be truly life-changing. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways positive self-talk can benefit you in your daily life and overall well-being.
Just like negative self-talk raises your stress levels, positive self-talk automatically improves your ability to cope with stress. By reframing stressful situations, you begin to naturally adopt a positive outlook with anything that comes your way. This creates a much healthier attitude than dwelling on what you did wrong or how you should have done things differently. No matter what you go through in life, there’s always some good to be found in every difficult situation.
Better Mental Health
Did you know that your self-talk is directly linked to your mental health? When your inner voice is coming from a positive and self-compassionate place, the way you view yourself and the world instantly improves. Rather than letting a difficult situation break you down and destroy you, positive-self talk helps you spin the situation into a positive. Not everything is in your control and sometimes you’re going to make mistakes, but that doesn’t make you the problem. Understanding this will help you shift those deep-rooted underlying beliefs that negatively impact your mental health and overall well-being.
By correcting the negative self-talk and limiting beliefs you have about yourself, you’ll notice an increase in confidence. This is because what you focus on becomes reality. If that inner voice keeps telling you to believe in yourself and constantly reminds you that your goals are achievable, it becomes real. As you practice this, confidence will begin to show up in all aspects of your life—from personally to professionally to relationally.
As we just mentioned above, the increased confidence that comes with banishing negative self-talk helps you build better relationships. People who talk to themselves with kindness are more likely to resolve problems with those around them. This applies to friendships, business relationships, partners, and family members. People who are positive influences are automatically drawn to individuals who are self-assured and try to keep an optimistic attitude.
How to Improve Your Self-Talk
Like anything else in life, to stop or reduce the negative self-talk, you have to first realize you’re doing it. For some people, this is easier said than done. For that reason, we’ve included some ideas below that are helpful to start building your self-awareness and improve how you talk to yourself. By following each of these steps, you can start turning negative inner dialogue into positive.
Sometimes negative self-talk is going on so subtly in the background that you may not be fully aware of it. For many people, negativity has been programmed into them throughout their lifetime—it has become second nature. Keeping a journal of your thoughts is a great way to build self-awareness and notice the patterns around the way you talk to yourself.
Try carrying your journal around with you and writing down negative comments as they come to mind, summarizing your thoughts about the day every night before bed, or write about specific events that occur in your life. However you decide to do it, be sure to reflect on your entries regularly to analyze your thoughts at the time. Seeing your self-talk on paper can be incredibly enlightening for examining your inner process.
Flipping a Negative to a Positive
If you find yourself mentally complaining about a negative situation, try flipping it into a positive. So, what do we mean by that?
Let’s say you’ve just lost your job. It’s a job you’ve always dreaded going to but you’ve stuck with it for years because it paid the bills. Instead of being hard on yourself for losing your job, you could flip the script and turn what you originally perceived as a negative situation into a positive. You can do this by acknowledging that you’ve just been given the opportunity to find a career that you’re passionate about, rather than going to a job that you hate every day. It all comes down to perception and how you choose to view things.
Turning Self-Limiting Statements Into Questions
The same way it takes a long time to develop consistent negative self-talk, it takes effort to unlearn it. A powerful way to learn positive self-talk is by turning self-limiting statements into questions.
If you ever notice yourself making a mental statement “I can’t do this,” then try reframing it into a question like “How can I make this happen?” It’s hard to keep a negative attitude when you’re busy searching for the positive. This is an incredibly effective way to strengthen your belief in yourself and unlearn that inner critic.
Need Help Turning a Negative Inner Voice Into Positive Self-Talk?
It’s hard to break the pattern of a negative inner narrative but it’s beneficial for your mental health in the long run. Once you shift your thought pattern from “I’m not good enough” to “how can I improve?” you’ll notice things start to change in all areas of your life.
If you’ve been struggling with turning a negative inner voice into positive self-talk, you don’t have to go through it alone. Our program at Tikvah Lake recovery oasis can help support you on your journey to better mental health and self-love.
So, what is Tikvah Lake and what does it have to do with self-talk? Our high-end recovery center specializes in working with executives and professionals seeking help with mental health and addiction, which often go hand-in-hand. If you’re struggling with mental health issues of any kind, there’s nobody we don’t help. Our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) method is designed to help you control negative self-talk, emotions, and behavior before it leads to substance abuse problems.
If you’d like more information on how our luxury mental health treatment can help you with your self-talk and overall mental well-being, please reach out to our team today. We’re available 24/7 and are happy to answer any questions you have at any time.