Almost everyone has an inner voice that provides a constant monologue of our daily lives.
This inner voice, or self-talk, combines our conscious thoughts and our unconscious beliefs and biases, allowing the brain to interpret and process daily experiences.
Occasionally, our self-talk is positive and motivating; “I’m going to absolutely crush this presentation.”
But, for the most part, it’s negative and critical; “I’m going to bomb this presentation, lose my job, and end up living all alone in the town dump.”
We can totally blame our brains for defaulting to negativity, it’s simply how we evolved.
However, we can also thank our brains for the ability to change how we think and adopt new default patterns of behavior.
Self-talk is the script we use to frame our entire lives, but we’re never really taught how to do it.
That needs to change; the proven benefits of positive self-talk are quite powerful.
According to the research, the benefits of positive self-talk include:
- Reduced risk of anxiety, depression, and stress
- Improved confidence and resilience
- Healthier relationships
- Better physical performance
Now, positive self-talk doesn’t mean telling ourselves lies about how awesome we are.
It’s about treating ourselves with compassion and developing an understanding of who we are and what we’ve been through.
In order to replace negative self-talk with positive, it’s important to have some strategies to fall back on. Tools in your mental toolbox.
3 Tools to Promote Positive Self-Talk
- Identify Self-Talk Traps
There are probably specific situations that trigger negative self-talk for you. It could be social gatherings, upcoming presentations, or “bad luck” like getting a flat tire on your bike ride; it’s different for everyone.
Figure out what your self-talk traps are and then use that information to your advantage. That way, when you encounter your traps, you can pump yourself up with some positivity.
If you know your weaknesses, you can turn them into strengths.
- Utilize Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are a scientifically proven way to reduce negative self-talk and boost motivation, focus, productivity, and more.
You can use them in a few different ways. You can try using visual queues like post-it notes or posters that remind you how awesome you are (we keep a photo of Bill Murray in the office with a thumbs up saying “You’re Awesome.”)
Or, you can adopt a daily affirmation exercise like this one to really reap the benefits.
- Check-in with yourself
We are busy and constantly stimulated. It’s hard to actually notice when we’re being negative to ourselves.
It’s important to create time and space to check in with yourself and see what’s what.
In this exercise, we’re going to take a few minutes and get in tune with how we’re feeling.
Then, we’ll briefly explore a proven method for cultivating compassion and turn it on ourselves.
The main takeaway here is that the importance of self-talk can’t be understated.
Negative self-talk is our default way of thinking, but we can easily flip the script with a little bit of practice.