Did you know that we talk to ourselves all of the time? Sometimes we aren’t even aware of the thoughts that we are telling ourselves throughout the day. The way that we think about ourselves really affects the way that we handle things. Once we learn to recognize and combat our negative thoughts, we can start building a positive self talk dialogue with ourselves. This can truly enhance our mood, productivity, and overall sense of well being.
Listen to your self talk
We all have an inner voice whether we hear it or not. The things we tell ourselves can really have an effect on how we handle even the most basic situations. This is why it is so important to bring awareness to the thoughts that are going on behind the scenes. The goal is to have practice more positive self talk than negative. You can recognize some of the ways you talk to yourself when you are in decision making mode. Whenever you have to make a decision, especially an emotionally charged decision, listen to the way that you are thinking.
Ignore the negative self talk
Negative thinking can get in the way of building a healthy self esteem and making important life decisions. It is very important to begin to notice any thoughts that do more harm than good. Try to confront them as they popup. For example, notice the times that you pass unnecessary judgement upon yourself and ask yourself if it is actually helpful. Any thought that does not propel you in the direction of success is not positive self talk. It’s a thought that is trying to hold you back.
The best friend challenge
The easiest way to test your thoughts is to put them through what I call the best friend challenge. Simply take the thought and ask yourself, “Would I say this to my best friend?” If the answer is no, itis time to ditch that thought. Most of the time we would tell our friends the truth. However, we wouldn’t say it in the harsh ways that we talk to ourselves. When I am trying on clothes I might think to myself that I am “ugly” or “Fat”. I would never say these things about my best friend. Putting thoughts through the best friend challenge can help us start to identify our negative thinking patterns and start to reframe them into more positive statements.
Practice more positive self talk
I used to think that if I went to enough therapy, everything would be fixed and I would never have any self-esteem problems ever again. Well, that’s not exactly how it works. We have to practice the skills that we learn or else we may lose them. Much like learning a foreign language, it is important for us to practice healthy self talk or else we may move back into our old ways of negative thinking.
The best way to practice is to create a simple daily habit. This can be in the form of a morning devotion, reading something that empowers you and reminds your of the importance of positive self-talk. You could also leave yourself little positive notes on the bathroom mirror, helping you remember to be kind to yourself each day. A self-talk journal can also be a wonderful way to keep track of your progress. Writing down any negative thoughts that you experience can help you become more aware of the negativity and work toward replacing some of the negative statements with some healthy positive self talk. Whatever you decide to do, make it a habit and practice it often.