Mastering the Art of Self-Talk

Written by Carine Camara

Right now, you are probably getting an earful from your inner voice. You know, that little commentator in your head. It can sound like your biggest fan, hyping you up at every turn.  Then at times, it can sound like your biggest hater sabotaging your success with negative comments and cutting criticism. One of the greatest obstacles to achieving our goals and realizing our heart’s desires is not (yet) having mastered the art of self-talk. 

Especially in high-pressure situations, self-talk is often relentless. Instead of thinking deliberately and logically, our inner voices are filled with emotion, and that influences everything from how we talk to ourselves to our behaviors and beliefs, attitudes, and habits. 

So your first step is to listen critically to what you are saying to yourself — and how you are saying it. When your inner voices start running away with words of disdain and discouragement, pause the conversation as you consider ways to change it.

Another tip is to use your own name or a second or third-person pronoun when referring to your situation. Asking yourself, “Why are you feeling so stressed?” is one way to create the psychological distance you need to regulate emotion and be able to lessen your discomfort rather than add to it. Remember, positive self-talk develops mental skills that allow you to solve problems, think differently, and be more efficient at coping with hardships or challenges. 

Positive self-talk takes practice if it’s not your natural instinct. If you’re generally more pessimistic, you can learn to shift your inner dialogue to be more encouraging and uplifting. However, forming a new habit takes time and effort. Over time, your thoughts can shift. Give yourself a little grace and positive self-talk will become your norm.