We all have an inner dialogue that influences our actions throughout the day. This is sometimes called your conscious, your inner subconscious, or self-talk. The way you talk to yourself has significant impact on your thoughts, beliefs, ideals, and mental health. Let’s explore how positive self talk can influence your mental and physical health.
Want to find out more about self-talk and how is can improve your overall mental health? Keep reading!
Self Talk: Positive and Negative
The way we learn to talk to ourselves is often influenced by the way we have been talked to in the past. This includes parents, teachers, peers, coworkers, media, and other influential people in your life. In addition, experiences throughout your life can influence your self-talk as well. Depending on these experiences, your self-talk may naturally be positive or negative, or may be a combination of both. The way you speak to yourself can also be determined by your own personality; for example, if you are an optimist, your self-talk probably naturally veers to being upbeat, while pessimists may have a more damaging narrative.
Positive Self Talk for Increased Mental & Physical Well-Being
Many studies have shown that positive thinking can have a real-life impact on your mental and physical health. For example, athletes often use positive self-talk to increase performance or push through workouts that require additional endurance.
You may be asking yourself how does a different mindset have such a big influence over overall health? Self-talk is a form of neuro linguistic programming, this acknowledges the fundamental connection between the brain (neuro), language (linguistic), and our internal and external behaviors (programming). In practice, positive self-talk can boost self-awareness, self-esteem, social interactions, and communication skills because our brains are pliable and ever changing.
There is no doubt that there is an innate connection between our mind and body. There is a physical response to the way we feel, and self-talk can influence this greatly. Think about a time when you were feeling sad; did you have a ton of energy or was your body lacking? Now, think of a time when you were in a really good mood? Were you interested in sleeping or spending the day on the couch or did you want to be active? When we carefully consider these different states, it is easy to see how mental health influences physical health. When we talk to ourselves positively, we can create a better mood which leads to better overall health.
Improving Your Self Talk
Now that you are cognizant about the importance of talking to yourself in a positive manner, do you want to improve your self-talk? Here are three tips:
- Practice positive “I am” statements while getting ready for your day and change your negative statements to “I feel” statements. For example:
- “I am confident in my abilities to have a great day”
- “I feel tired today, but know that I can go to bed early tonight and feel better tomorrow”
- Practicing talking positive about others; this will translate into the way you talk about yourself. If you speak ill of others, this will reflect back on you and your self-talk.
- Ask yourself if you would talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself. We never want to hurt our friend’s feelings, and we should never want to hurt our own. Think about the way your inner voice sounds and reflect on if you are being kind to yourself – just as you would a friend.
Self-talk is an essential part of physical and mental health. Make sure you are practicing positive self-talk for a simple (and totally free) way to improve your wellbeing! Check out this great TEDx Talk about Positive Thinking.