Self Talk

Self Talk - Posted 14 March 2014

What do we mean?

Positive self-talk is the nice voice in your head that encourages you and acknowledges the things you do well.

Example – I did really well today to get out and exercise. That made me feel great and I should really do that more.

Negative self-talk is critical voice that says things to you that you wouldn’t say to others. Example- I’m hopeless. I wasn’t even close to the fitness of the others.

Why does it matter?

Listening to your self - talk and actively questioning the negative or encouraging the positive is important to your overall self-esteem and motivation. No successful athlete or business person or General ever got to that place by telling themselves they were worthless or wouldn’t be any good. If you constantly criticize yourself, then overtime you will start to believe and live those thoughts. The way you think strongly influences the way you feel and behave.

Better self-talk

Listen - The first step is to tune into the self-talk and listen to the thoughts, maybe even write them down. Look for what is positive or negative.

Question –     Is there actual evidence for what I’m thinking?

                        What would I say if a friend were in a similar situation?

                        Is there a more helpful way of looking at this?

                        Am I keeping everything in perspective?

                        Can I do anything to change what I’m feeling?

Change your self-talk – Reinforce the good thoughts that encourage you. Use the questioning technique (such as those above) to counter and change the negative. “I might not be the best at this but I’m really improving and that feels good”.

Where to from here? Changing the way you think is no easy task, especially if unhelpful thoughts have become a habit. Many people find it useful to speak to a psychologist to explore their thinking and set another perspective. If this sounds like you then you may want to give our psychology team a call or make an appointment to discuss this further.