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What Is Positive Self-Talk?

Shifting the Conversation of Your Internal Dialogue

Your internal dialogue combines conscious thoughts with inbuilt beliefs and biases. It has a significant impact on how you feel and how you act, which can be helpful and unhelpful. Our inner voice can become toxic and critical, filled with destructive thoughts and negative self-talk. However, you can bring awareness of this critical inner voice and shift it into positive self-talk.

Negative internal dialogues can develop and worsen by current life experiences, such as high levels of stress, trauma, abusive relationships, and failures, and caregivers can even pass them down. While we can all experience moments of negative self-talk, it can also take over most of our thoughts. Negative self-talk can lead to an increased risk of mental health problems, decreased motivation, inability to see opportunities, low self-esteem, and relationship problems.

Luckily, there are ways to shift negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Changing your inner dialogue is a powerful coping mechanism that can benefit your mental health, such as reducing stress and impacting your physical health, including reducing pain and boosting your immune system.

Contact BeWellLine by calling our help center at 866-349-0854 to learn more about using virtual mental health services.

What Is Positive Self-Talk?

Self-talk, or your ‘internal dialogue,’ is quite simply your thoughts. How you talk to yourself and the voice inside your head comment on your life, whether what is going on around you or what you are thinking, consciously or subconsciously. Everyone has an internal dialogue that runs all the time. Self-talk has a big impact on your mood and what you do. It can be beneficial and motivational, or it can be negative, impacting your confidence. It is the voice that speaks without giving it much attention and can have a big impact on our everyday lives. What we say to ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, can directly impact how we feel and respond to a situation or others.

What Does Positive Self-Talk Look Like?

Positive self-talk makes us feel good about ourselves. It encourages and motivates us, keeps us on the “bright side,” and puts things into perspective. It is optimistic and improves overall well-being. However, there is such a thing as “toxic positivity,” or the tendency to shove down negative feelings to always feel positive. It is important to remember that feeling sad, angry, disappointed, or overwhelmed is natural. Some situations are just simply hard, and it is OK to feel a certain way when bad things happen. You should think of positive self-talk as a realistic and empowered way of thinking versus constant positivity. It can help us move through negative emotions and be hopeful and optimistic about moving past them.

Here are some examples of positive self-talk:

  • It took courage attempting to do this, and I am proud of myself for trying.
  • I am capable and strong. I can get through this.
  • Tomorrow is another day and another chance to try again with the lessons learned from today.
  • Even though it was not the outcome I hoped for, I learned a lot.
  • I may still have a way to go, but I am proud of how far I have already come.
  • I have the power to change my mind.

How is Positive Self-Talk Good for You?

When you mainly think positively about yourself, you can feel good and optimistic most of the time. Some benefits of positive self-talk include:

  • Improves mental health: Positive self-talk can reduce symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and personality disorders. This can be a powerful coping skill for managing stress and challenging situations.
  • Improves confidence and performance: Negative self-talk can lead to doubting yourself and your abilities. Believing you can accomplish something increases the likelihood of achieving it and helps you not to get down on yourself if you don’t accomplish it. It can help you focus on what you did well and how you could improve to see the possibility of success in the future.
  • Improves relationships: When you focus on the positive with yourself, you are more likely to focus on the positive with others. It boosts your self-confidence, attracts and keeps others in your life, and keeps you from blowing up problems in a relationship out of proportion.
positive self talk

8 Tips to Benefit from Positive Self-Talk on a Daily Basis

Cultivating positive self-talk takes practice. Just like many of our behaviors and habits, it can be challenging to break away from negative self-talk, and it takes work to build a positive internal dialogue. If you are unsure how to begin positive self-talk that feels authentic, here are some tips for developing it and making sure it overpowers the negative thoughts:

  1. Identify negative self-talk: The first step is to identify negative thinking, which can look like blaming yourself, focusing solely on the negative aspects of a situation, catastrophizing, and polarizing (black-and-white thinking). Identifying these can help you prepare and find ways to counteract them.
  2. Talk to yourself like you would a friend: When a thought comes up, think about whether you would speak to a friend that way. Be gentle and encouraging to yourself.
  3. Challenge your thoughts: When experiencing negative self-talk, ask yourself – is this even true? It often is not. Ask yourself if there is another explanation or way of looking at a situation.
  4. Focus on the present: Your internal dialogue often tends to focus on the past (‘What might have been’) or the future (‘What might be’). Mindfulness and focusing on the present quietens your internal dialogue, and you can appreciate what is happening at the moment.
  5. Make self-care a priority: Even when you are crunched with time, spend even a few minutes doing something for yourself that cultivates your overall well-being and makes you happy.
  6. Limit your exposure to negativity: Make sure you are spending most of your time surrounded by negative people and information. It is easy to see a lot of this on social media, so you may want to limit your time on social media apps.
  7. Practice gratitude: You can keep a gratitude journal or just have a mental checklist of things you are grateful for or are going well in your life. Focusing on the good things can shift your internal dialogue.
  8. Incorporate positive thinking into your routine: This can include listening to an uplifting podcast, reading an inspirational book, or starting your day with positive affirmations.
Contact BeWellLine by calling our help center at 866-349-0854 to learn more about using virtual mental health services.

Can an Emotional Support Line Help Me with Positive Self-Talk?

Emotional support lines are great ways to help you develop positive self-talk. Peer support counselors can help you improve your outlook on situations and life overall. They can provide coping skills and advice on how to work on positive-self talk. They are also there to challenge negative thinking patterns and pessimism. Sometimes just talking to someone else about your struggles can help you see things rationally and the unlikelihood that your inner critic is right.

Call BeWellLine for Help with the Benefits of Positive Self-Talk

BeWellLine is a free emotional-support line in California that is available 24/7 to help you through difficult situations. If you are struggling with negative thinking and would like help in shifting your mindset, our trained peer support counselors can help you develop positive self-talk techniques, encourage you to practice these techniques, offer advice, and provide referrals to higher levels of care or resources. We will connect you to a peer support counselor in your community within minutes. You can chat online with our virtual mental health support line or call our number at  866-349-0854 to talk to someone over the phone.

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