The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Our inner self-talk shapes our mental wellbeing. Discover the power of kind and supportive self-talk – and the keys to developing a loving inner voice.

Valentine’s Day prompts many of us to think about love. We often focus on this in our relationships with others – yet it’s important to also pay attention to our relationship with ourselves. Being loving towards ourselves is vital for wellbeing and creates a healthy foundation for every other relationship in our lives.

One of the best ways we can develop a loving inner relationship is through our self-talk. Self-talk is our internal monologue – the inner voice that combines conscious thoughts with our deep-seated biases and beliefs. This internal voice has a powerful impact on the way we feel. Kind, calm and supportive self-talk uplifts us, helping us to manage our experiences more effectively, regulate our emotions and soothe ourselves if we’re undergoing stress or difficulty. Conversely, critical, pessimistic and judgmental self-talk undermines our confidence and negatively affects our mental health.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t allow anything negative to cross our minds. We need to be able to process challenging emotions and experiences with honesty and awareness. But it’s important that we learn to do so in a loving and balanced way, rather than falling into rumination, reproval and despondency.

Speaking to yourself with kindness

The first step to practising positive self-talk is to become aware of your internal monologue. Often, we don’t even consciously register that this voice is playing out inside our minds. Pay attention to what it is you’re saying to yourself. Notice the content, tone and underlying intention. Is it supportive and encouraging? Would you speak this way to a friend or loved one?

If you notice that your self-talk tends to be harsh or excessively negative, try challenging it. Pause and take a breath, then practise replacing those thoughts with something neutral or positive. If you’re judging or criticising yourself, can you seek a broader perspective? Be aware also of the tone you use. Try softening the way you speak to yourself, aiming for kindness and compassion.

Over time, see what impact this has, both within and around you. Self-talk is fundamental to our relationship with ourselves – and with patience and perseverance, these techniques shape this for the better, helping us to feel happier, healthier and more resilient.

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