Using Self-Talk to Improve Your Mental & Physical Health

Many of my clients have struggles with negative thought patterns and self-talk has been a coping skill that has helped to reduce difficult emotions, depression, and anxiety in these clients.

What is self-talk?

Self-talk is your internal dialogue. It shows your thoughts, beliefs, questions, and ideas. Self-talk can be both negative and positive. It can be encouraging, and it can be distressing. Be easy on yourself.

One of my favorite quotes is “If you are going to beat yourself up use a feather, not a bat”.

Tips to add more positive self-talk?

          Add it to your daily routine with reminders. For example, whenever you brush your teeth in the morning look in the mirror and try some positive self-talk. Stay in the present moment. Refer to yourself in the third person.

What are the benefits of positive self-talk?

There are mental and physical benefits to positive self-talk outlined below!

What are the effects of negative self-talk?

Chronic stress, low quality of life, pessimism, poor communication, and low self-esteem.

I have noticed that when some of my clients have a more positive mind-set, they have less anxiety and their physical issues have been easier to control.

What are some types of negative thinking?

Magnifying: you focus on the worst parts of a situation and pay no attention to the positive parts. For instance, you return from a tropical vacation and only talk about how expensive and hot it was.

Polarizing: you see things as either good or bad, black or white. There’s no room for a middle ground. For instance, you think you have to be perfect — if you make mistakes, you’re a failure.

Catastrophizing: you expect the worst. For instance, you spill coffee on your shirt and assume the rest of the day will be a disaster

Personalizing: you blame yourself when bad things happen. For instance, your boss is in a bad mood, and you automatically assume it’s because of you.

How can I reduce negative self-talk?

          Talk to yourself like you would a best friend. Look out for signs of negative self-talk. Watch your stress levels and how they are associated with your thought patterns.

Challenge your negative thoughts: Remember that thoughts are NOT facts. They are just thoughts. Tell yourself, “That’s an annoying thought” or “That thought about ___ again” and let it drift away like a cloud in the sky or a leaf on a river. This can be easier said than done, but with practice it will come more naturally to you!

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