The Purpose and Power of Self-Talk
Your thoughts can be very powerful in your life. They have the potential to shape your future, but it’s incredibly common for them to hold you back instead.
Every single thought you have is a form of self-talk, whether it's positive or negative. You can have thousands of thoughts every day so there’s a huge amount of potential for it to affect you one way or the other.
A ton of what we say to ourselves is hugely negative and this can have super harmful effects on emotional wellbeing.
Since self-talk is something that happens so many times per day, adapting it to work to your advantage is super smart. You can set the stage for healthier emotions, stronger self-esteem, and being more resilient.
Let’s talk about why self-talk is so impactful for getting to where you want to be in life and how to improve your inner dialogue if it needs it.
What is self-talk?
Most of your self-talk comes from beliefs picked up in childhood. These become “truths” about yourself and the world around you that start to play out in reality. Your thoughts shape your experiences to a major extent.
Your self-talk has a ton of impact on your subconscious mind and tells it what to do. If your self-talk is negative, your subconscious mind acts in line with it.
Sometimes, you’ll ruminate on it too. This can involve replaying moments over again in your head. It can cause a ton of anxiety, which often goes hand in hand with a whole lot more negative self-talk.
It’s super common for negative self-talk to fall into one of these categories:
Catastrophizing: This type of self-talk is hugely focused on “what if?” scenarios. These are usually the worst-case scenario thoughts, which causes a ton of anxiety about the future.
Personalizing: This type of self-talk puts all of the blame on you, whether you were really at fault or not.
Polarizing: With this type of self-talk, things are either good or bad. There are no shades of grey.
Fortune telling: This involves predicting the future, even though you’ve got little or no evidence that things will play out that way.
Magnification/Filtering: This type of self-talk is all about taking one mistake or flaw and assuming it will always happen. You automatically zero in on the negatives and totally overlook any positives.
Rehashing: With this type of self-talk, you spend a ton of time going over past events in your head.
Rehearsing: This type of self-talk is the opposite of rehashing and involves spending a huge amount of time projecting the future. It’s super common to imagine a future event and the different ways it may play out.
Mind reading: This type of self-talk involves assumptions about what other people are thinking - often about you. It’s almost always negative.
Why self-talk matters so much
Your self-talk is super crucial for affecting your emotions, behaviors, and mood. It can also have a huge impact on how you respond to situations.
It comes down to this - your self-talk is a massive factor in your success (or otherwise). Switching up your self-talk can be a game-changer for getting success in more areas of your life.
Overwriting negative self-talk can have a significant number of benefits. It can reduce stress and anxiety, increase positivity, and even make you happier and healthier.
How to improve your positive self-talk
Cultivating positive self-talk is a critical part of creating progressive change. If you’re not naturally inclined towards positive self-talk, it may be challenging, but it absolutely can be done!
Being intentional about your self-talk can help cancel out the self-projected “truths” you tell yourself about who you are and what’s happening to you. These “truths” come from your subconscious mind, but they can be rewritten.
Reflect on how you speak to yourself
Get into the habit of listening to and reflecting on how you speak to yourself. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, note it down so you can become consciously aware of them. Then you can work on challenging them.
Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are a significant part of positive self-talk. Most of us use affirmations all the time, but they’re often negative and self-destructive.
They can help create change in your mind just by being deliberate and intentional about the words you choose to use.
Using positive affirmations on a regular basis is only part of the story though. To get the most from the positive affirmations you choose, you must create an environment that allows them to work their magic.
Think of your affirmations like tiny seeds that need the right nurture to grow. The more you can think positively, the easier it can be for your affirmations to create the change you’re craving. It may feel a little unnatural at first, but with consistency and commitment, I promise it will become just part of your day-to-day investment in yourself.
Here are a few examples of positive affirmations that can improve your self-talk:
“I am confident and capable.”
“I control the way I respond to situations.”
“I breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity.”
“I am talented, capable, and successful.”
“I speak kindly to myself every day.”
“My life is unfolding exactly as I planned it.”
When you’re choosing affirmations, keep your language in the present tense.
Call out your negative thoughts
Giving your negative thoughts a name can create some distance from them. Makes it easier to feel more in control when you can see your negative self-talk in this way. Are you ready to start your positive thoughts and self-affirmations today?