Whether you have negative or positive self talk, it affects how you see and interact with the world around you. If your thoughts are not as positive as you would like, you can easily change them.
Most people develop patterns of either positive or negative self talk at a young age. In most cases, these habits of self talk are what “color” the way that we think.
What this means for you is that if you developed a negative pattern, it ends up affecting your life in many ways, including the amount of stress in your life. The good news is that you can change the way you are talking to yourself, eliminate that negative self talk and introduce positive self talk into your life. All of which gives you a boost in stress relief, productivity, and better self esteem.
Understanding Positive Self Talk
First, it's important that you understand positive self talk. Positive self talk is an uplifting and encouraging way that your internal voice speaks to you. Several studies show that there are many great benefits received from keeping a positive mindset and engaging in positive self talk. One of those benefits is the ability to use more of the brain. How can that be? The study of positive psychology has found that when the mind is kept “in the positive” it functions at a fuller capacity. In other words, it makes you smarter..., which allows you to work smarter..., which is extremely important to your success.
Becoming Aware of the Problem
If you want to begin using positive self talk in your own life, first you must become aware of whether or not you have a problem with negative self talk. You may not even realize how often you are saying negative things in your head (or out loud for that matter) and how this is affecting your life in a negative way.
So, here are a few ways that you can get a better handle on your internal dialogue, stop the negative talk and introduce positive talk into your life.
Write in a Journal - Start carrying a journal with you and write down your thoughts. You'll then be able to look objectively at your inner thoughts and you'll quickly see where you were thinking negative thoughts. Ask the question, “Would I say these things to someone I highly respect?”
Replacing Negative Talk with Positive Talk – Now that you are aware of the problem, it's time to replace the negative talk in your life with some positive talk. Making the choice to replace bad habits with something better is the beginning of setting yourself up for new patterns of behavior. So, decide now to make a conscious effort to change your automated programming.
Stop Thoughts – When you notice that you are saying something that is negative, stop the thought right away. In fact, actually saying "Stop" out loud can be really effective for stopping these thoughts.
Change Negative Phrases to Positive - One idea is to take negative phrases that you are saying to yourself and change them to be positive. How do you do this? Simple... when you are stressing out about something and using negative self talk, “Stop!” Take a moment to think of the exact opposite and how you can turn the statement around to be positive, or at least neutral.
Stop Self-Limiting Statements - We often use self-limiting statements, such as "It's not possible." Well, we don't know if something's possible until we try it right? Remember how “everyone” believed running a mile in less than 4 minutes wasn't “possible?” Well, Roger Bannister came along in 1954 and proved “everyone” wrong! And after he opened that “possible belief” door, someone beat his record only six weeks later. Now, many have run the mile in under 4 minutes… all because Roger held an “unlimited” belief.
Self-limiting statements that say “not possible” tune your mind to “not possible.” Instead of using negative “not possible” statements, ask “What if?” This gives your once self-limiting statements a positive spin and some hope, and, who knows, you could be the next “Roger Bannister!”