Changing the ‘Self-Talk’ Conversation

To harness the power of positive thinking, you must first silence your inner critic.

A continuous stream of internal dialogue enters your mind every day. Known as “self-talk,” this dialogue helps shape your perceptions about many things, including your self-worth and abilities.

A Framework for Negativity

Self-talk plays a role in determining how you view yourself and the situations you encounter. People who engage in negative self-talk, for example, may automatically blame themselves when things go wrong or tell themselves they will fail if they attempt a new task. They focus on their flaws rather than their abilities.

Some people may look at negative self-talk as a means of self-improvement. However, harsh critical comments can stand in the way of success and lower your self-esteem.

For Better Health, Reframe Your Thoughts

Positive thinkers are often better able to cope with stress and may even take better care of themselves, both of which can result in improved health. Try these tips to reshape your self-talk:

  • Pay attention to your inner dialogue. You may be surprised to find that your negativity stems from a specific trigger, such as your job. If one area of your life is bringing you down, come up with some real changes you can make that will help you feel better.
  • Focus on the positives. If you make a mistake at work, for example, do your best to correct it and move on. When you reflect on the day, focus on what went well instead of your mistake.
  • Be kind to yourself. Striving for perfection will only add to your stress levels and distance you from your goals.
  • Expand your inner circle. Spend time with other positive thinkers who can provide support and help you find solutions to obstacles.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Negative self-talk and pessimistic thinking are hallmarks of depression. Other depression warning signs that may surprise you include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and unexplained aches and pains, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Talk with your doctor if you feel depressed or are experiencing any of these depression symptoms.

3 Successful Habits to Adopt

Take charge of each workday with this stress-relieving, productivity-boosting habits.

  1. Become a morning person. When you’re rushing to arrive on time, you begin the day feeling stressed. Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier—enough time to eat breakfast. Gradually increase that to an hour so you can also get in a short workout. Just be sure to go to bed earlier so you don’t sacrifice sleep.
  2. Master the art of saying, “No.”If you commit to too many tasks, you can’t give each project your full attention.
  3. Get excited. For a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers asked people to whisper, “I am excited,” or “I am calm,” to themselves before delivering a persuasive speech. People who were excited performed better.


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