You are a powerful influence over your mood and self-esteem. How you think about yourself and the words you say (your self-talk) matter. Through self-talk, you provide opinions and evaluations on what you’re doing as you are doing it. When it’s upbeat and self-validating, the results can boost your confidence and motivation. When the messages are critical and harsh, however, the effects can be emotionally harmful. People with clinical levels of depression may have frequent and relentless forms of destructive self-talk. The more you talk yourself down and second guess yourself, the less free you are to creatively find solutions to daily problems.
More than likely, you aren’t aware of how frequent negative self-talk is occurring throughout your day. This destructive style may cause you to question yourself to the point of becoming paralyzed with self-doubt and uncertainty.
Examples of these messages may include:
I am not interesting.
I have no talent.
People don’t like me.
On the other hand, with constructive self-talk, you cheer yourself on, focus on the positive aspects of a situation and allow yourself to feel good. Positive self-talk has stress management benefits, productivity benefits and even health benefits.
A few suggestions to try during stressful situations include:
This too shall pass and my life will be better.
Look at how well I handled that situation.
One step at a time.
I am doing the best I can
Being aware of what you are saying to yourself is the first step. Changing the negative statements to more positive ones is the second.
Other ideas on where to begin include:
Limiting negative influences in your life
Reading aloud positive affirmations
Identifying and confronting your fears
Focusing on the enjoyable moments in life
Implementing these changes a little at a time can bring satisfying results. If you need help, give us a call. The counselors at CFI are trained to assist you.
Written by Lois Trost, M.S.W.