Natalie Dainesi

UpStreet Intern

The Importance of Positive Self Talk

It is very easy to find ourselves stuck in a pattern of negative self talk. Some examples of this include, “I’m ugly,” “I’m not good enough,” or “There is no way it is going to work.” Statements like these can be detrimental to our mental health and well-being, not to mention self-esteem. 

When we begin to focus on all the “bad” or unpleasant things in life, our mindset begins to change. We soon find ourselves developing a pessimistic outlook on numerous aspects of our lives. Changing our thinking begins with curbing our negative thoughts and implementing positive self talk into our everyday lives. 

Here are some healthy suggestions for encouraging positive self-talk during certain situations:

When you are feeling not good enough

Stop being your toughest critic. Take a moment and evaluate yourself, focusing on your strengths and accomplishments. In addition, learn to recognize signs of when you are being self-critical so you can begin to stop. This might be tough at first, but you will soon realize that you are a lot stronger than you thought. 

Acknowledge that there will always be someone out there who is better than you, and that’s ok! Embrace who you are and focus on being the best version of yourself. No one can be you, and that in and of itself is extremely powerful. 

Practice developing a positive, personal self mantra. A personal mantra serves as an affirmation to yourself in order to help motivate you to be the best version of yourself. It can provide encouragement and motivation to help promote positive self talk. 

Here is a video from one of our therapists at JFCS, Angelica, in which she explains a meditation practice involving a positive self mantra:

When you are feeling overwhelmed

Sometimes when you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with your emotions, it is easy to fall into a pattern of telling yourself “that it won’t get better” or “there is no way that is going to work.” This can serve as a massive barrier to accomplishing your goals. In addition, this negative self talk can make you feel even more overwhelmed. 

Try changing your perspective on the issue. You can do this by explaining the situation out loud and then thinking to yourself, if my friend were to come to me with this statement/situation, what would I say to him/her/them? 

Here is a guided affirmation meditation video from Fearless Soul on YouTube, specifically meant for feeling overwhelmed: 

When you are feeling that you “will never be different”

This thought leaves us in a pit of hopelessness. If we truly believe that nothing can change, and things are going to just stay the same, then it would be very difficult to obtain our goals and the possibility of success. Leave yourself open to the possibility of change and seek to allocate resources for this change to happen. Whether it is finding the help you need or finding ways to make light of the situation that you are in, change is possible.

Practice being open. In addition, try shifting your thinking from fixed beliefs to probability thinking. This can start with recognizing that because you believe something, doesn’t mean you can prove it. Through practicing these exercises, you can start to develop a sense of optimism in a realistic way, reducing negative self-talk.

When you find yourself caught up in a period of any type of negative self talk, it is always a good idea to stop, recognize your thoughts, and work on changing them into something positive. It takes time, but you ultimately have the power to change your thinking!