Self-talk is a soundtrack that’s constantly playing in your head, and its impact is dramatic. The conversations you have with yourself help determine your emotions and actions. Learn about the different types of self-talk and how to use them to your advantage.
Self-Talk in General
- Raise your awareness. Self-talk is so natural that you may not even realize what you’ve been saying to yourself all these years. The first step is to become conscious of the commentary you create about your life.
- Disrupt old patterns. Self-talk is a tool for making changes. Maybe you’ve been reinforcing your fear of numbers by dwelling on how you once got a bad grade in algebra. Now you can take an online course in business math and practice comparing prices at the supermarket.
- Take action. Incorporate a call to action into the speeches you give yourself. Focus on goals that are challenging, yet attainable.
- Conduct a reality check. Assess how your self-talk measures up to what’s really happening around you. There’s a big difference between burning one slice of toast and being a failure in the kitchen.
- Talk it over. Feedback from others is also valuable. See how your impressions compare to what your coworkers or partner say about you.
- Be consistent. We often need to hear a message multiple times before we accept it. Your inner dialogue will grow wiser with practice.
- Regard yourself as a friend. We sometimes speak more harshly to ourselves than we would to anyone else. Instead, talk to yourself as though you were a loving friend. Seek to be truthful and supportive with yourself.
- Build up your strength. Motivational self-talk tends to work best in situations that require endurance and confidence. A pep talk can boost your confidence and make you believe in your worth and abilities.
- Find your hot buttons. Choose words that invigorate you. You may want to call yourself a superhero or remind yourself that you’re awesome.
- Keep it brief. Using single words and short phrases helps you stay on track. You’ll be more likely to focus on your assets without getting distracted by nagging doubts.
- Start early. New projects provide an ideal opportunity for instructional self-talk. Coach yourself during the important beginning stages.
- Be precise. Break tasks down into specific steps. If you’re working on your public speaking, urge yourself to make eye contact, talk at an appropriate pace, and sound enthusiastic during your speech.
- Visualize success. Picture yourself getting the results you want. Maybe you’ll see yourself hitting a home run or dancing the Rumba.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Soothing self-talk can help you manage tense moments with more comfort and skill. For best results, accept your emotions instead of trying to suppress them. You can act courageously even if you feel afraid.
- Create distance. A recent study found that calling yourself by name or substituting the word “you” instead of “I” enabled people to perform better under stress. It’s one way to restore objectivity when you’re feeling pressured.
- Look on the bright side. Self-talk won’t make life’s challenges disappear. However, it can help you respond more constructively. Instead of criticizing yourself for a past misstep, concentrate on what you can do better in the future.
Channel self-talk and start moving in a positive direction. Get in touch with the thoughts that automatically run through your head, and turn them into a steady stream of encouragement. You’ll reduce stress, enhance your self-confidence, and enjoy more success in life.