What is Self-Talk?
What is self-talk and why does it matter? Self-talk is everything you say to yourself throughout the waking hours of your life. Your thoughts and internal dialogues can be destructive or beneficial, depending on how positive or negative your self-talk is. Ultimately, it can influence how you feel about yourself and how you respond to events in your life. Thus, it is important to be aware of your self-talk and work on cultivating positive thoughts. First, take a minute to think about all the things you have said to yourself today. Were they nice or critical? Did you find it helpful? Positive self-talk may not feel natural at first, but with practice and time it can become second-nature. Follow along for a more indepth answer to the question, what is self-talk? In addition, continue reading to learn more about why positive self-talk is so important and how you can work on developing healthy and helpful self-talk.
Why is Self-Talk Important?
Mastering positive self-talk and learning to have a more optimistic outlook on life in general can provide many health benefits. These health benefits may include: increased vitality, greater life satisfaction, improved immune function, reduced pain, better cardiovascular health, better physical well-being, reduced risk of death, and less stress and distress. It is not quite clear why optimists or people who foster positive self-talk receive these benefits, however, it is clear that positive self-talk helps develop mental skills that makes it easier to solve problems, think differently, and cope with hardships. With self-confidence, well established, healthy problem solving skills, and the ability to face challenges, you are less likely to suffer from the harmful effects of stress and anxiety.
Now, this is not to say that you are tricking yourself into always having a positive view. That would be unproductive and nearly impossible. Rather, being positive helps you to see the full picture instead of focusing only on the negative aspects of a situation. For example, you may be facing a challenge that is really tough, but instead of focusing on how hard the challenge is or how much it is wearing you down, you can simply tell yourself, “I am doing the best I can”. Using positive self-talk, like in the prior example, can help you build self-confidence and self-esteem, allowing you to feel like you have more control over the events in your life.
Cultivating Positive Self-Talk
As we mentioned earlier, cultivating positive self-talk may take some time and feel unnatural at first. When wrestling with the question, “what is self-talk,” remember being positive is not about convincing yourself to believe things that are not true or inaccurate. It is about having some self-compassion and understanding who you are at your core.
The first step in cultivating positive self-talk is to recognize and identify your negative thoughts. Negative thoughts generally fall into one of four categories: one, personalizing, where you blame yourself for everything, two, magnifying, where you focus on all the negatives of a situation without recognizing any positives, three, catastrophizing, where you expect the worst and you can rarely be convinced otherwise, and lastly, polarizing, which means you see the world as black and white, good or bad, there is no middle ground for processing and categorizing life events. Instead of continuing to focus on negatives, such as, what you did wrong, or how you failed, positive self-talk means you can remind yourself kindly that you will do better next time or learn from your mistakes!
How Therapy Can Help
Because developing positive self-talk is so important for your overall health and well-being, it is equally important to get help if you are falling into the same negative traps. Speaking with a therapist can help you identify the root of your negative self-talk and provide you with the tools to switch your frame of mind. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, is passionate about helping people reframe their way of thinking and adopt healthy behaviors. She understands, without judgement, how the pressures of life can affect you and your ways of functioning. Furthermore, Chriselda knows that by utilizing your natural strengths, capabilities, and focusing on your personal growth you can create a life where you thrive and feel hopeful for the future. To learn more about Chriselda’s offerings, or to book an appointment, visit her website.