Positive Self Talk

09/16/2013

talk to yourself with lovePositive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. 

IDENTIFY NEGATIVE THINKING

Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some forms of negative self-talk:

Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.

Personalizing: When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.

Catastrophizing: You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.

Polarizing: You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you’re a total failure.

FOCUSING ON POSITIVE THINKING

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you’re creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

be-careful-how-you-talk-to-yourselfIdentify areas to change: If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

Check yourself: Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.

Be open to humor: Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.

Follow a healthy lifestyle: Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.

positive self talkSurround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.

Practice positive self-talk: Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.

Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.

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[from MayoClinic.com; could not find image sources.]

19 responses to Positive Self Talk

  1. 

    Thank you for the excellent reminders, Gina.
    Big hugs,
    Russ

  2. 

    Great thoughts capsulized on one page.

  3. 

    Thank you Gina. Sometimes negative self talk is so deeply ingrained that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Awareness is key to changing that pattern.

  4. 

    Great post and wonderful advice. Self-compassion is critical; if we always offer it to everyone else, and not our own self, what is that compassion truly worth?

    • 

      Thank you for commenting Theresa. And that is a terrific point, that if we do not nurture and offer compassion to ourselves, what quality is in our attempts at caring for others?

  5. 

    Yes! That’s what I’m talking about, Gina! Hugs! Jamie

  6. 

    If my sense of humour is taking a day off, I know it’s time to have a talk to myself. Thank you.

  7. 

    I needed this today, even though you wrote it yesterday…today the advice took hold. Positively perfect timing! Thanks Gina. 🙂

    • 

      Hooray! I adore ‘positively perfect timing’! Don’t ya just love it when that happens? I’m delighted that you enjoyed this post Rhonda. It’s always great to have a comment from you. 🙂 Hugs, Gina

  8. 

    Gina, my post today about the mistaken beliefs we hold so resonates with your recent posts. This fall (and when I look back — much of my work…) my work with groups and clients and with my own self seems to be around SELF COMPASSION. And part of having compassion for ourselves is being aware of those voices that rise up from within us — that keep us from believing in our goodness and believing we are whole and enough. Your tips here are LOVELY and HEALING. Yes – awareness — throughout the day. Yes – allow room for humor, for laughing, for not taking ourselves so seriously (I need a lot of reminders about this!). Yes – exercising — I sooooo see in my own life how when I exercise, I FEEL better — about myself, this world, whatever challenge I am facing. It also sends the message, “I am worth keeping healthy!” And I love the last suggestion — don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else. Gina, YOU inspire me. I replied to several of your comments on my recent blog posts. I am so so grateful for your gentle, kind encouragement. Such sweet, sweet blessings to you. Lisa

    • 

      Lisa, your compassionate heart welcoming me in helps me feel like a part of your family. I adore how you share that you need ‘a lot of reminders’ about learning to be gentle with ourselves and not taking ourselves too seriously. Like I’ve mentioned before this is a big part of what I enjoy about your teaching, and what I aspire to as well: we ‘teach what we most need to learn’ and being gentle with Self as we travel this challenging and educational path of Life is indeed everything. Thank you for your encouraging support, and I too am deeply grateful for your wonderful words. Warm hugs of gratitude and encouragement, Gina

      • 

        Gina, yes what we teach is what we most need to learn! I think my whole life is about more deeply embodying “softening, compassion, and gentleness.” And those are what I most often teach about!!! Love to you, Lisa

  9. 

    Reblogged this on Taming The Invisible Dragon™ and commented:
    A great post from Gina at Professions for Peace. Be gentle with yourself. Speak softly and kindly about YOU. You are worthy of your own love and compassion. Remind yourself of these simple truths frequently and consistently. A happy life begins with a happy mind. Sloan