How To Benefit From Using Positive Self Talk

Self Talk Definition

People often think using words and sentences. Throughout the day they talk to themselves using their inner voice and sometimes out loud. This is refereed to as self talk. I talked to myself while I was writing this hub. Positive self talk refers to positive thinking and negative self talk refers to negative thinking. If you use negative words you are using negative self talk even if you are using two negatives. For instance "I will not fail." is a negative statement. The sentence "I will succeed." is a positive statement.

Positive
Negative
I can
I can't
I will
I won't
I am
I am not
succeed
fail
I am getting leaner
I am losing fat

How To Do Self Talk

As I mentioned before, you already do self talk. You know how to do it already. However using it to your benefit requires some extra effort. People say a lot of things to themselves throughout the day. To use self talk to get what you want you need to focus and deliberately say things that will help you. For instance when I bike long distance I will say things to myself to help keep me going. Avoid saying things that will hurt your progress.

"I am powerful.", "I can do it."
"I am powerful.", "I can do it." | Source

I mentally say things like "I am half way there already." and "I can easily bike half the distance I have left.". Using the future tense can cause problems because it implies it is going to happen sometime in the future. If you use "I will" or "I am getting" it is does not mean you will anytime soon. It is usually better to reword the statement so it is in the present tense or set a time limit. I like using statements that start with "Every day I am". I also use "I will" sometimes when I am about to do something.

Try use statements that make sense. The statement "I am lean." is clearly false if you are overweight. A better statement would be "I chose to exercise regularly and eat healthy food." or "I choose to be lean.". The statement should be believable so you don't reject it. You should also be relaxed and open to the possibility. When you are relaxed there is less resistance to the statements.

I used positive self talk to help me bike 37 miles to this beach.
I used positive self talk to help me bike 37 miles to this beach. | Source

Has positive self talk worked for you?

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Does Positive Self Talk Work?

Positive self talk works or at least it can. I know it can work because it works when I use it. Lots of people have successfully used positive self talk. You could be one of them. Some people want proof it works before they try it, but trying it is the only way to find out if it works for you. There is no reason not to try it.

You don't need scientific evidence to see if self talk works. Just keep an open mind and try it out yourself. Before seeing if it works you need a definition for 'works'. Self talk is more of an aid. It helps. So if self talk helps you then it works. Failing to do something does not mean that the self talk did not work. It is not magic. It just makes things easier. If you think it helped then it helped. Make sure you are not cancelling out the positive self talk with negative self talk.


Stopping Negative Self Talk

The easiest way to stop negative self talk is to replace it with positive self talk. For instance "I can't do it." can be replaced with "I can do it.". The statement "I am not going to fall." could be replaced with "I have great balance.". Use positive statements that focus on what you want.

Self Talk Exercises And Experiments

Exercise 1: Mentally say the words in quotes and do the actions. Keep the pace slow and steady. Pay attention to how it makes you feel. Deep slow belly breathing means you pretend to fill your belly with air instead of your chest. Becoming more relaxed can take practice. So treat it like a physical exercise. Do it once or twice a day for a week. You may want to modify some of the statements.

  1. "Use deep slow belly breathing."
  2. "Relax my body."
  3. "Relax my body."
  4. "I am becoming more and more relaxed."
  5. "I am becoming more and more relaxed."
  6. "I am very relaxed."
  7. "I enjoy the feeling of deep relaxation."
  8. "I am becoming more and more alert."
  9. "I am becoming more and more alert."
  10. "I am alert."

Exercise 2: Prepare yourself using positive self talk before attempting a physical exercise that is difficult for you. Repeat the statements three times. You may need to modify the statements so they better suit your activity. It is not just about succeeding the first time. It is also about not giving up. If you fail try again later. I did this self talk before attempting to do handstands.

  1. "I am confident."
  2. "I am strong."
  3. "I am powerful."
  4. "I can do it."

Exercise 3: Stay focused using self talk. People become distracted easily. You can perform better at most tasks when you are focused on what you are doing. Tell yourself things like "Faster." and "Keep the pace up." while doing cardio. The idea is to workout more efficiently. Sometimes when I do cardio I use self talk to help me keep a fast pace. I recommend running, biking, jumping rope or shadow boxing with this type of self talk.

Experiments: If you want to turn self talk exercises into experiments you need to keep track of your progress and compare the results with how you were before the self talk. Think of an activity and the self talk you want to use with it. Then see if the self talk helps you perform better. To make the experiment better get more people involved.

Benefiting From Positive Self Talk

You can benefit from positive self talk by using it to help you get what you want. Talk to yourself and then take action. Pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day. If you find yourself using negative self talk switch to using positive statements. If you don't focus on what you want then the self talk is not going to help very much. Like diet and exercise it requires time and some effort.

© 2013 Michael H

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