Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is the internal conversation you have with yourself. This dialogue continues throughout your day (and night) and is linked to your emotions. What you say to yourself refects your emotional state. It also creates and reinforces emotions. What you say to yourself affects your behaviors, your relationships, your self-esteem, your ability to be hopeful, your energy, and your health habits. Your management of stress depends on the quality of your internal conversation.With mindfulness, you can increase your awareness of what you say to yourself. You can observe your thoughts and identify your patterns of thinking. You can think about what you are thinking. You can create positive affirmations. With awareness, you can pay attention to your negative thought patterns and practice positive affirmations. 
Everyone talks to him or herself. That inner voice has something to say about almost everything: your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. It is often a critical voice and does not accurately reflect reality. This self-talk sometimes repeats what you heard said about you when you were a child (old tapes) or critical statements made about you as an adult. These statements impact your self-worth and the value you place on yourself. This, in turn, influences choices and decisions that you make.

Wiklund (1995) discusses how purposeful self-talk increases self-esteem in mothers of sexually abused children. She describes identifying the automatic self-talk and then using purposeful self-talk to challenge what you are thinking or feeling.You argue with yourself, rather than taking your thoughts or feelings as facts. A thought is just a thought, not a fact. A feeling is just a feeling, not a fact. 

Developing a positive self-talk habit will reduce your stress. Stress reduction has a positive impact on your immune system and your health. Talking to yourself can keep you well, warding off illness and infection. Words are powerful. 
  1. Notice negative thoughts .
  2. Identify the ones you use most frequently.
  3. Choose to either mindfully be aware of that negative thought - observe it, feel it.
  4. Or - create a counter-statement to say to yourself in its place, in effect, arguing with the negative thought.

You can notice your negative thoughts and their effect on you by journaling. When you become aware of the thought, write it down. Later pay attention to how often you repeat that thought.

You can replace negative self-talk by changing the words you use. You can tune it down. Instead of "angry," you can say "irritated." Instead of "miserable," you can say
"uncomfortable." You can choose to use different adjectives or qualifiers. For instance, "a little angry" instead of "very angry." You can change negative words to positive words.You can ask yourself questions about what you say to yourself. For instance, when you tell yourself that you cannot handle going to court, ask yourself, "How can I handle going to court?" And then answer yourself!

Create positive affirmations that fit you and what you want in your life. Is peace important? Is safety important? Is being healthy important? Does your self-esteem need a verbal boost? Your ability to manage, stress and survive the crisis? Create the statements you want to repeat to yourself and then repeat them several times a day. Place them around your house where you will notice them. Immerse yourself in positivity. 


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