The Power of Positive Self-TalkApril 25, 2022
Everyone does it. It sounds something like this – “I can’t believe you did that,” or “how stupid can you be?” Sound familiar? Perhaps yours sounds more like “why would they want to go out with me, look at me, someone like that wouldn’t think twice about me” or my personal favorite “what good would it do, no one cares about me, no one would listen.” There are many ways we talk to ourselves and most of the time they are negative and critical. This negativity can drain your motivation, your energy, your health and obviously, your positive attitude.
Some researchers believe that negative thinking can activate in our brains destructive pathways and when these thoughts come to us again and again, we’re setting ourselves up for not just mental health issues, but your physical health is also more at risk. Studies have confirmed that the negative self-talk we engage in with ourselves produces higher stress levels, more frequent flooding of cortisol through our body and can amplify and drag out symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s safe to say that the “critic” in your mind is doing more harm than good.
So how can you begin to flip the script? An old Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Al Franken comes to mind. The actor would turn to a mirror, look at himself and repeat the words “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.” Now this affirmation was done in jest but there’s more truth to this joke than what most of us believe. Treading down the path of the optimist has shown to produce remarkable benefits for those suffering from depression, low self-esteem, abuse and other mental health issues. In addition, your physical health can also be impacted by learning to speak to yourself with compassion instead of criticism.
If you find yourself tired of the critical, negative voice always dragging you through the mud, here’s some quick tips to begin changing that tune:
1.Wake up every day and tell yourself “Good morning.”
It doesn’t have to go further than that. Simply welcome yourself into this new day with a positivity and optimism.
2.Challenge and dispute the critic when he raises his voice.
Catch him in the act. If you can catch yourself being negative or critical, stop it and redirect it into something positive.
3.Praise yourself for the little things.
Did you do that task you’ve been avoiding? Tell yourself good job! Finally finish that project? Great work! Introduce yourself to the person you’ve been wanting to talk to?
That took courage! Whatever the situation, make it a point to notice the good and then elevate it.
4.Practice positivity with other people.
If you notice someone else being down on themselves, find a way to compliment or encourage them. The more we spread positivity the better our world will be.
Everyone’s a critic. You don’t have to be!
A better statement may be, everyone ELSE is a critic, not me. Make a commitment today to start speaking to yourself with compassion, understanding, forgiveness and positivity. You’ll be amazed at just how good it can really feel and just how much of a breath of fresh air it brings to your life and those around you.
Drew Lynch is a licensed minister and has his bachelors in Communications from Lamar University. He is currently continuing his education at Lamar by pursuing his Masters for Counseling. He has lived in SETX his entire life and his focus is currently marriage and family counseling. Drew is a self-described busy body, keeping himself busy with work, school, and church activities. If he isn't at work (managing Reel Cajun or counseling at Samaritan), he is at church or studying! Watching his children grow up and achieve new things brings Drew joy. Drew's goal for his clients is to see them reach their goal(s), as well as growing and developing. Drew is supervised by Natashia Slack, MA, LPC.