Positive self-talk is a healthy habit that can boost productivity; minimize stress; increase longevity; improve immune function; produce a greater sense of well-being; provide better coping; and decrease the risk of heart disease. Our dominant thoughts shape our emotions, perceptions and behaviors. When you see things positively and you look for the good in every situation and in each person, your health and the quality of your life will improve.
Download Healthful Habits: Positive Self-Talk
- Although our patterns of self-talk began in childhood, they can be shifted to be more loving, supportive and positive. One of the first steps in insuring that we have a healthy self-talk pattern is to become aware of our internal language. You may want to try the STOP method. As you notice a negative thought, say out loud (or to yourself), “Stop”. Begin to notice the frequency and timing of negative thoughts. Use some of the ideas below for the month of June and see if you aren’t able to be in a more positive place by the end of the month.
- Fill your mind with uplifting ideas. Focus on your strengths. Forgive and comfort yourself when things go wrong. Let your self-talk be like the soothing, supportive words of a good friend.
- Once you are aware of your negative thoughts, you can replace them with neutral words rather than emotionally charged words. “I am so angry that she did that, I just want to scream” could be de-escalated to, “I am upset that she did that. It is unfortunate.” The words that you choose do impact the emotions that you feel.
- You can also think about things from an optimistic standpoint. Rather than complaining about something, focus on the positive aspect in the situation. See situations as opportunities rather than situations to be endured.
- One way to increase your positive self-talk is by repeating positive affirmations until you begin to get a good sense of what positive thinking really sounds like. Keep your affirmations short, sweet and in the present tense. “Fit, Forty and Fabulous” could be an affirmation to support an exercise goal.
- Make it a habit to only think and talk about what you want and keep your mind off of what you don’t want. Your thoughts and feelings determine you actions. Positive thoughts and words will automatically move you more rapidly towards your goals.
- Don’t limit yourself. Mentally, turn “I can’t” or “This is impossible” into “How can I make this happen?” This will allow you to begin to look for solutions and open yourself up to possibilities.
- Expect good things to happen. Consider how thoughts like, “What if I don’t pass this exam?” can set you up for failure and anxiety. Instead, ask yourself questions such as, “How can I best prepare for this exam?” This puts the focus on things that can be controlled and gets you to take action towards a more positive outcome.
- Use the power of choice. Replace should, must, have to with I could. Doesn’t “I could choose fruit for dessert” feel more empowered than “I should have fruit for dessert”. Just a simple little word change puts you in control.
- Put labels on behavior rather than on identity. For example, “I’m fat” is an attack on who you are. “I don’t always make healthy choices when it comes to food and exercise” realistically expresses behaviors that can be changed to have a more positive outcome.
- Accept responsibility for the things you can do to make a situation better.
Make it a better life by choosing positive thoughts to improve your health and well-being.