Did You Hear What I Said?
Ever had a conversation with yourself…inside your head? If your answer is “no”….ask the question again. Over the last two years of the pandemic, we’ve been in isolation, locked away from friends, family and community. Who else did you talk to…yourself? Self talk is your internal dialogue, otherwise known as your self talk. It’s influenced by your subconscious mind, and it reveals both your negative and positive thoughts, beliefs, questions, and ideas.
Self talk can be encouraging and supportive or it can be self-defeating. Positive thinking and optimism can be an effective stress management tool, calms fears and bolsters self-confidence. Not only does it help to rewire your brain for more positive thinking, but your body also physically benefits as well by:
greater life satisfaction
improved immune function
better cardiovascular health
better physical well-being
reduced risk for death
less stress and distress
better problem-solving skills
Before you can learn to practice more positive self-talk, you need to first identify negative thinking. This type of thinking and self-talk generally falls into four categories:
Personalizing. You blame yourself for everything.
Magnifying. You focus on the negative aspects of a situation, ignoring any and all of the positive.
Catastrophizing. You expect the worst, and you rarely let logic or reason persuade you otherwise.
Polarizing. You see the world in black and white, or good and bad. There’s nothing in between and no middle ground for processing and categorizing life events.
When you begin to recognize your types of negative thinking, you can work to turn them into positive thinking. It won’t happen overnight and it takes time and practice but the good news is that is can be done.
Here are examples of when and how you can flip the script and turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Again, it takes practice. Recognizing some of your own negative self-talk in these scenarios may help you develop skills to flip the thought when it occurs.
Negative: I’ll disappoint everyone if I change my mind.
Positive: I have the power to change my mind. Others will understand.
Negative: I failed and embarrassed myself.
Positive: I’m proud of myself for even trying. That took courage.
Negative: I’m overweight and out of shape. I might as well not bother.
Positive: I am capable and strong, and I want to get healthier for me.
Negative: I let everyone on my team down when I didn’t score.
Positive: Sports are a team event. We win and lose together.
Negative: I’ve never done this before and I’ll be bad at it.
Positive: This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from others and grow.