The uncertainty of current events that have occurred recently can give us all negative thoughts. Before we know it, our mind wanders into negative self-talk. Am I going to catch COVID, is my job in jeopardy? Am I doing enough? How am I going to juggle work, kids, life? Should I get vaccinated, will things go back to normal?
Self-talk can be both positive and destructive to your actions. Some might ask what self-talk is. After doing further research and some digging, according to PsycholgoyToday.com, many people are conscious of an inner voice that provides a running monologue in their lives throughout the day. The inner voice, also known as self-talk, combines conscious thoughts and unconscious beliefs and biases. It helps the brain interpret and process daily experiences.
Self-talk can have a huge impact on our daily lives, actions, the way we think about things, and how we think about ourselves. It can also affect what we think we are capable or not capable of. Naturally, we are prone to negative self-talk, such as making up assertions like, “I can’t do anything right,” “I don’t have enough time for anything,” or “I am not good enough. The list goes as to what negative self-talk we can think of in our heads.
So how do we even begin to turn that negative self-talk into constructive, positive self-talk?
Positive thinking and optimism can be effective stress management tools. Most of us know that a positive outlook on life can bring more health benefits. We stress less, we do not overthink things, and we are more open to ideas, handling changes, managing what life throws at us more constructively.
Here are some health benefits as to why positive self-talk is important to our health:
greater life satisfaction
improved immune function
better cardiovascular health
better physical well-being
reduced risk for death
less stress and distress
Learning to shift and change that inner dialogue is the first step to helping yourself improve your health and become more of a positive person. Understand this does not happen overnight. We all have different personalities and have differences of opinions and thoughts. What we can do is start thinking of certain scenarios. Recognizing some of your own negative self-talk. When you think about the negative, or you hear yourself being negative, just began flipping it to the opposite. Flip it to thinking positive.
Negative: I will end up embarrassing myself if I try this.
Positive: I tried something new and learned from it even if it did not work out.
Negative: I let my co-workers down because I was unable to attend the meeting.
Positive: I needed to complete a work task, and now I can focus on the meeting agenda.
Negative: I will disappoint my friends if I change my mind.
Positive: It is ok to say no. Others will understand.
These scenarios are examples of when and how you can turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Again, it takes practice. Forming a new habit such as this takes time and effort. Over time, your thoughts will shift to a more positive outlook.
Continue to evaluate your self-talk. As we know, humor can also be a stress reliever as well as relieve that tension. When you need to push for positive self-talk, find ways to laugh. Call a longtime friend or watch a funny movie.
Most importantly, give yourself positive affirmations. Sometimes just seeing positive words or inspiring images can be enough to redirect your thoughts. Again, self-talk, in general, can be great for your general health. Research repeatedly suggests that people with positive self-talk may have mental skills that allow them to solve problems, think differently, and be more efficient at coping with hardships or challenges. This again can reduce the harmful effects of stress, anxiety, coping, and so much more. Why wait for a new year to come. Start thinking about all the positive things around you now.