Improving Your Self-Talk

Updated on May 29, 2017
Ezria Copper profile image

My game plan is to research, condense my findings, and translate it into everyday language for busy people.

Mending the Broken

Negative Self-Talk

The Internal Dialogue

Everybody has been through times of trial and tribulation. Pain changes how people think about themselves and how they relate to the rest of the world. All of us have an internal dialogue that goes on in our heads. There are messages about ourselves and how we relate to other people that play over and over again. These messages can also predict how we react to life and circumstances. People develop negative self-talk when remembering negative things that were said to them or about them in childhood from parents, peers, siblings, or teachers. We can also learn them as adults. The thoughts fuel feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, etc., that may lead to a feeling of hopelessness.

Changing the Script

If you sit and watch the news, most of what you will hear is negative stories because our news is based on fear. It is what gets people's attention. Often "the scripts" that play in people's minds, or their internal dialogue, is the same way. They think negative things about themselves and how they relate to the world—and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The way to change that kind of thinking patterns is to make yourself aware of it when it happens, and then try to change the script in your head to a more positive outcome and a more positive viewpoint of yourself.

What We Base Our Self-Talk On

Many times our self-talk is not based on logic or rational thinking. It is based on our emotions or the emotions of others that we internalize. So, the first step in changing your inner dialogue is to distance yourself from negative emotions by using the pronoun "you" and talking in third person. You ask yourself, "Why are you so stressed?" Once you identify the source or sources of stress, it is easier to look at them as challenges and not problems in your life. The viewpoint can be changed to one of more optimism.

Motivational Self-Talk: helps with confidence, strength, and endurance
Instructional Self-Talk: works best to improve technique
you've got this
shoulders back
you can do it
keep the arms straight
you are going to do great
keep your eye on the ball
you can do this
take one day at a time
keep going
tackle one task at a time

Exercising Self-Talk

The same as someone exercises a muscle before preparing for an athletic event, people have to prepare themselves for the hardships of life by improving their self talk. Unfortunately, most people if someone says something negative about them, they will remember that. Yet, when someone says something positive, they often dismiss it or forget about it entirely. However, you have to change the thoughts in your head whenever you find yourself saying negative things about yourself. Instead of saying, "I can't do this," change it to "I can start this project and do it one step at a time." Trying to take a positive spin on any situation to try to see the good in it is always a good idea. There are many health benefits to positive self-talk.

Health Benefits of Positive Self-Talk

  • Prolonged Life
  • decrease in depression
  • decrease distress
  • better resistance against disease
  • better psychological and physiological health
  • reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • increased coping skills for difficult times

More Self-Talk

A classmate of mine once said the best advice she was ever given was: "Be as forgiving of yourself as you would another person." We as people tend to be a lot harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Learning to forgive ourselves and look at past failures as "learning experiences" is very hard to do but pays off in the long run. Everyone at some point in time is going to fail at something. Expressing gratitude is always a good idea, especially when thinking about yourself. Writing down things that you are proud of or accomplishments that you have made is always a good idea. Rewarding yourself for things is a good idea too. When you start getting down or thinking really negatively about yourself, just writing out in a journal ten things you like about yourself every day will help with thinking more positively about yourself and how you relate to other people. Starting your day off with a daily mantra is a good idea. This one was passed along to me years ago. The origins are unknown but it definitely is beneficial so it is being passed on to the reader:

I am independent of the good and bad opinions of others.

I am inferior to no one and superior to no one.

I am fearless.


I accessed the articles below on May 29, 2017.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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    • Ezria Copper profile imageAUTHOR

      Ezria Copper 

      3 years ago

      Well, it is like Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer. He thinks he is a failure. I do not think his thinking that is driven by logic or rational. I think what it is driven by is emotions of feeling completely devastated at the loss of his fellow brothers in arms. It would probably be good for him to be trying to rewrite the script in his brain and at least try and see himself in a more realistic manner.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Self-talk is one of the greatest tools that we have to help ourselves have positive feelings of self-worth. Our ability to nurture ourselves through positive self-talk will help us overcome the distorted thinking patterns of fault-finding, blame, and exaggeration. We are our own best friend and our own worst enemy!


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