18 October 2022

What Does Your Inner Voice Sound Like? The Effects Of Positive Self-talk On Individual Wellbeing

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What Does Your Inner Voice Sound Like? The Effects Of Positive Self-talk On Individual Wellbeing

Does your mind ever tell you that you’re not good enough, not capable or even a failure? Unfortunately, this experience is common for many of us, with a large majority of people indicating negative self-talk accounts for around 80% of their daily thoughts.[1]

Effects of Positive and Negative Self Talk

Self-talk, or the way we talk to ourselves has been shown to significantly influence both self-image and performance.[2] Negative self-talk can erode confidence, increase stress levels, feed anxiety, perpetuate depression and eating disorders, and lead to overall dissatisfaction and even weaker muscles.[3]

Positive self-talk on the other hand, can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem and body image, and can be attributed to better athletic endurance.[4][5] Positive self-talk also has vocational benefits and has been shown to improve work-related performance, increase confidence and overall satisfaction, and enhance interpersonal relationships.[6]

What does negative self-talk sound like…

  • I will mess things up.
  • I always fail.
  • Nobody likes me.
  • I won’t be able to do it.
  • That is much too difficult for me.

What does positive self-talk sound like…

  • I can learn from my mistakes.
  • I will try my best to succeed.
  • I love myself.
  • I want to learn.

6 Tips to Improve Your Inner Dialogue

Tip 1: Be Aware of Self-Talk
Without recognizing the nature of our inner dialogue, it is difficult to change it. In order to become more aware of our self-talk, we can practice listening to thoughts about ourselves.

Try this:
Imagine yourself saying your inner thoughts out loud to a loved one. Do they sound positive? Do they come across as negative? What would their reaction be to your words?

Tip 2: Remember Our Thoughts Are Not Always Factual
Once we start becoming aware of our self-talk, it’s important to remember that they are not the objective truth. Keeping this in mind allows us to diminish the power of our negative thoughts over self-image and performance.

Try this:
Distance yourself from your negative self-talk: Instead of accepting and identifying with negative inner dialogue, simply observe it and recognize that it is not inherently factual. Realize that your thoughts do not represent your whole true self. This is a useful first step in dissolving the connection between negative self-talk and how you see yourself.[7]

Analyse your negative self-talk: When you identify a negative thought about yourself, try to analyse where it came from (i.e. “Have I heard this from someone else?”) or why has it come up? (i.e. “What in this environment could have caused this thought?”). Negative inner dialogue can be internalised from a comment that somebody else might’ve made or a result of anxiety about a situation. Realising that your negative self-talk may have originated from another individual or emotion can help recognise its biased, non-factual, and unreliable nature.[2]

Tip 3: Replace negative self-talk
After you’ve identified and analysed your negative self-talk, try to transform it into positive self-talk.

Try this:
Instead of thinking, “I’m such an idiot! Messing up that presentation will end my career,” tell yourself, “I can do better next time. Nobody expects me to be perfect. Making and learning from my mistakes will help me advance in my career.” This allows you to oppose negative thoughts and practice a more positive outlook on yourself for greater overall satisfaction.

Tip 4: Practice Affirmations
Practising positive self-talk through affirmations can provide us with the emotional support and encouragement we need.

Try this:
Regularly tell yourself empowering statements such as “I’m capable of amazing work,” “I deserve to feel good about myself,” and “I respect myself and am respected,”. Repeating affirmations to ourselves with sincerity has been shown to promote health, achievement, and general attitude. [8]

Tip 5: Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal can be a useful tool to help us keep track of our thought patterns, progress and experiences in pursuing positive self-talk.

Try this:
Write down common thoughts of your inner dialogue daily. At the end of each day identify and analyse your negative self-talk (see Tip 2) and write down positive statements in replacement of the negative thoughts underneath it or in a different colour pen or font.

Tip 6: Be Patient with Yourself and Reach Out for Help
It’s important to remember that transforming our inner dialogue takes time.

Try this:
Be patient and gentle with yourself throughout the journey. If your negative self-talk is overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out to loved ones or pursue additional helpful practices such as meditation.

Transferring negative self-talk into positive dialogue is a great way to improve various aspects of our lives, whether at work, school, home, or even when we’re alone. By talking in an uplifting manner internally, we can accomplish tasks more effectively, build better relationships, and experience greater overall satisfaction.

A Note from The Wellness Workshop
Consider Want to find out more about changing your inner dialogue and improving your mindset, self-esteem and performance? Book a 1 or 2 hour Self-Awareness Workshop for your team for Mental Health Awareness Month in October. 

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