Reading a letter from a University I work with I started to look into some alarming statistics on global mental health issues. While checking those numbers I had a thought that I want to share with you today: Positive self-talk is a first aid for your mental health and, most importantly, is a choice. If you want to protect your mental health, keep reading on.
If you read our article on self-perception yesterday, today we go looking for straight answers to a very sophisticated, convoluting topic: self talk.
Self-talk, a first aid kit to protect your mental health
Self-talk is the inner dialogue that we have with ourselves. It can be positive or negative, but either way, it shapes our thoughts and beliefs. Most of us are not aware of the role that self-talk plays in our lives, but it is always there, influencing our decisions and actions, our wellbeing. While healing is always a choice, why not start thinking of the easy steps you can take today to protect your mental health?
If you are constantly telling yourself that you are not good enough, or that you will never achieve your goals, then it becomes very difficult to break out of that mindset. On the other hand, if you have a positive outlook and believe in yourself, then self-talk can be a powerful tool to help you overcome any challenge you might experience now or in the future.
So what role does self-talk play in shaping your thoughts and beliefs? Honestly, it is up to you! If you want to change your life for the better, then start by changing the way you talk to yourself.
Self-talk is a powerful tool that can shift the way you think, feel and react to life. It has a direct impact on your mental health. From negative self-talk to positive self-talk, it’s essential to learn how to pay attention to our inner dialogue in order to make changes that will ultimately impact our lives for the better. In this blog post, we’ll discuss five easy steps on how to shift our thoughts and start using positive self-talk to improve our overall mental wellbeing. With the right tools and strategies, you can transform how you think about yourself and how you handle difficult situations in life.
1. Recognize Your Negative Self-Talk
It’s not easy to catch yourself when you’re in the middle of a negative thought spiral, but it is possible. Once you become aware of the types of things you tend to say to yourself when you’re feeling down, it will be easier to start reframing your thoughts.
Some common negative self-talk phrases include:
• I’m not good enough.
• I can’t do this.
• This is too hard.
• I’m such a failure.
• Nobody likes me.
These types of thoughts can be incredibly damaging, and they’re often based on irrational beliefs. Just because you feel like you’re not good enough doesn’t mean that’s actually true. Similarly, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It’s important to remember that your thoughts are not necessarily reality.
If you find yourself thinking negative things about yourself, try to counter those thoughts with more positive ones. For example:
• I am good enough.
• I can do this.
•This might be difficult, but I can handle it. •I’m not a failure, I’m just learning and growing. •There are people who like and care about me.`
2. Understand the Purpose of Your Negative Self-Talk
The first step to control your negative self-talk is to understand the purpose it serves. Why do you keep telling yourself that you’re not good enough, or that you’ll never succeed? In most cases, negative self-talk is a way of protecting yourself from disappointment. It’s a way of guarding your heart against the hurt that comes with failure.
Unfortunately, negative self-talk can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, the less likely you are to try new things or take risks. Over time, this can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can learn to recognize your negative self-talk for what it is – an unhelpful defense mechanism – and start to challenge it. When you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative about yourself, pause and ask yourself:
• What is the evidence for this thought?
• Is there another way of looking at this situation?
• What would I say to a friend in this situation?
Answering these questions can help you to see your situation in a more realistic and positive light. From there, you can start to replace your negative self-talk with more helpful thoughts and statements.
3. Reset your negative self-talk before is too late
Improving your self-talk relies on your ability to reset your negative thoughts. How often do you need to reset your self-talk, switching from negative to positive? Make it a habit! When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself, take a step back and try to look at the situation from a different perspective. For example, instead of thinking “I’m such a failure,” ask yourself: Is it really true? What is the evidence? Or simply say instead: “I’m doing my best and I will get better with practice.”
It can also be helpful to think about how you would talk to a friend in the same situation. Would you be as hard on them as you are on yourself? If not, why not? Try to extend the same compassion and understanding to yourself that you would to a friend.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes and has challenges in life. What matters is how you handle them. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself credit for your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Every little bit counts!
4. Respond to Your Negative Self-Talk in a Productive Way
Negative self-talk can be extremely harmful to our mental health. It can lead to feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, and depression. However, it is possible to respond to our negative self-talk in a more productive way.
Acknowledge your negative self-talk. The first step is to simply acknowledge that you are engaging in negative self-talk. This may seem like a small thing, but it is actually very important. Once you are aware of your negative thoughts, you can begin to change them.
Don’t believe everything you think. Just because you have a thought does not mean it is true. Challenging your negative thoughts will help you to see them for what they really are – false beliefs that are not based in reality.
Talk back to your negative self-talk. Once you have identified your negative thoughts, you can start to challenge them by talking back to them. For example, if you are thinking “I’m such a failure,” you can tell yourself “That’s not true – I’ve accomplished _.”
Replace your negative self-talk with positive affirmations . Another way to respond to your negative thoughts is to replace them with positive affirmations . For example, instead of thinking “I’m not good enough,” tell yourself “
5. Practice positive self-talk and gratitude as a daily routine to protect your mental health
It’s no secret that the words we speak to ourselves can be incredibly powerful. In fact, research has shown that our self-talk can actually have a significant impact on our mental health and well-being.
One study found that individuals who engaged in positive self-talk were more likely to persevere through challenging tasks and report higher levels of happiness than those who didn’t focus on the positive.
How can you start practicing positive self-talk and gratitude?
Pay attention to the words you use when speaking to yourself. Are they kind and encouraging? Or are they critical and negative? Make an effort to use positive words and phrases when talking to yourself. For example, instead of saying “I can’t do this,” try telling yourself “I can do this.”
Challenge your negative thoughts. When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself, take a moment to question why you believe that thought. Is it really true? Or is it just a negative belief that you’ve been holding onto for too long?
Practice gratitude. One of the best ways to shift your focus to the positive is by writing in your gratitude journal. Every day, take a few minutes to think about things in your life that you’re thankful for. This could be anything from your health to your relationships to your job or even just the little things like a sunny day or a good cup of coffee by yourself or with positive people.
Being human is such an adventure! I remember a time, decades ago, just after my husband died, asking myself: what makes it so easy to let this self-talk make me feel inadequate, insignificant and completely confused about what’s next? Luckily I had three small children to be with, so I wake up very quickly from that instant amnesia that grief hits you with when everything changes overnight.
I often wonder how natural is for us to let self-talk to belittle ourselves, to doubt ourselves, to feel insecure and damage our sanity? Why is so easy to forget that as humans we are born for a greater reason than we can even imagine most of the time? At some point I had no choice but to accept that we are all the authors of our own lives. You could actually write a good story about your life, and make sure you are the protagonist. But is your self-talk going to let you put your name on a great story?