Self-talk can be described as having a conversation with yourself. We tend to repeat the same statements to ourselves over and over, which soon become silent messages that we believe as fact and don't even think through the accuracy of anymore. Negative self-talk might look something like this...
"I cannot do anything right."
"I'm so stupid."
"There's no point even trying."
"I'm just don't measure up."
Thinking negatively leads to feeling badly about ourselves and not doing as well when dealing with work, relationships, or school. Negative thinking infects our being and leads us to feeling worthless and increases our anxiety. Pretty soon our brain becomes a pac-man running around searching for the negative statements in order to feed, or provide evidence, to the negative beliefs we are telling ourselves.
If we were to shift our self-talk to more positive statements we would find that we feel better about ourselves and more confident and competent to accomplish things we are faced with. Positive self-talk might sound something like this...
"Nobody is perfect."
"I can try my best, that doesn't mean I have to be the best."
"I will do better if I relax."
Self-talk is a skill. Just like any other muscle in our body, it requires focus to get results we desire. The more effort we put into shifting our thoughts to positive, the easier it becomes over time. We change the pac-man from a negative feeder to a pac-man running around looking to feed off evidence that supports our positive belief, rather than our negatives. When you are feeling discouraged, angry, anxious, or afraid, positive self-talk has a way of alleviating these feelings and replacing them with feelings that are more positive and self-enhancing, rather than self-defeating.
I would encourage you to rehearse and memorize self-talk statements that work well for you so that you have a repertoire to use when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or upset.
Rachael Kool, professional counselor and normal, everyday adult screw up