5 Steps to Instill Positive Self-Talk
Monday February 20, 2012

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“If you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience.” – Swami Vivekananda

Our past experiences as children, young adults and even in our past as adults wire our minds to expect certain outcomes when particular or similar events occur.  Pure and simple, we are trying to put ourselves in control of the situation, and based on past experiences, we are assuming the outcome will be what it was last time.  Knowing this information can provide calm and peace of mind if the expectation is positive, but when the hard wiring is based on a negative experience, it can taint future experiences that have no intention of following the same path.

Such negative experiences may have occurred when we were in school – being teased or bullied by fellow students or a teacher who appeared to not be willing to listen or help, or at home with a parent, relative or sibling who was unsupportive, insulting or ridiculing, or perhaps in relationships where infidelity or disrespectful behavior took place. Whatever the negative experience was, it most likely has a triggering effect on your self-talk when similar situations arise, and it is important to recognize this, so that you may change it, thus improving the quality of your life as a whole.

Below are steps on how to permanently rewire your self-talk so that it is positive and reaffirming that a fulfilling and beautiful life is attainable.

1. Know Your Triggers

Most importantly, it is vital that you understand what triggers your negative self-talk to begin. Is it a certain environment, certain people, a particular job or responsibility? Whatever it is, understand what it is about the situation that causes your hackles to go up and for your negative self-talk to spiral downward enabling a course of events to play out that don’t necessarily have to had you flipped your self-talk to optimism. Then determine why this takes place. What are you afraid will happen, and why do you assume this negative outcome? Be honest with yourself.

2. Apply the Brakes

Once you have assessed your triggers, put a stop immediately to your negative thinking. Whether you have to verbalize out loud, “Stop this now!” or wear rubber bands on your wrist and snap them to snap yourself back to the present, do so.  However, I do want to stress that your feelings are valid. They are occurring because of something that did occur in your past that made you feel uncomfortable and/or hurt you emotionally and/or physically.  This is not to be taken lightly (and if you can’t deal effectively with these feelings on your own, I highly advise you to speak to a trained professional. Having a neutral party to talk to is a healthy decision and nothing to be ashamed of). However, your feelings at this present moment may not be rational or fair to the people you or situation you are now involved with, and this is why you must apply the brakes immediately.

3. Be Prepared With Helpful Statements

Once you’ve halted your negative thoughts, have written down on a piece of paper in your purse, your planner, saved on your phone or memorized, a positive statement that will remind you to maintain your faith and optimism. The statement should be short, focused and state what you wish the desired outcome to be. “I will pass this test.” “I can trust my partner.” “I am capable of maintaining my composure.” “I will not have another piece of cheesecake.”

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” –Mahatma Gandhi

4. Focus on the Present

So often the fears we have that create the negative self-talk are a result of what we fear will happen in the future – “I’ll be laughed at”, “I’ll get my heart-broken”, “I’ll be rejected”, etc. And while it is admirable to plan ahead, in this type of a situation, focus on the present moment. Focus on the person you want to project yourself as. Focus on helping the current moment be the best it can be. Yes, there may be moments when the best thing you can do is leave because you are that uncomfortable, but instead of storming off in a huff and causing a scene or hoping it will change if you do cause a scene (which it most likely won’t and not in a beneficial way for you), politely remove yourself.

5. Face Fears Head On

Once you decide to face your fears head on, you begin to alter your self-talk permanently. Because when you decide to look fear in the face, determine what exactly you are afraid of by realizing what the worse case scenario is and how you will deal with it should it happen, you have shattered fear’s hold on you. More likely than not, the worst case scenario isn’t as bad as you thought, and no matter what, as long as you know you can rely on yourself should a relationship go sour or a job be taken away, you need to know that you will be just fine because your most valuable and reliable asset is yourself.

I share this post with you today because while in many ways I am confident in my abilities in a variety of aspects in my life, there are still areas in my life that I work on with regards to my self-talk.  Such an extensive rewiring takes time and conscious effort, but the change you seek is possible. Respect yourself and your future enough to be resolute in the decision to change your thinking to a manner that is more kind, supportive, loving and respectful of the life you want to create, and if anyone tramples on these desires, move forward and change your scenery to be surrounded by people who don’t want to hurt you, but will respect you and support you.

{The Benefits of Positive Self-Talk:}

*Reduce Stress

*Feel Empowered

*Greater Happiness

*Increased Peace of Mind

*Greater Ability to Reach Success

7 thoughts on “5 Steps to Instill Positive Self-Talk

  1. I enjoyed reading this post. It is very sincere and speaks to my heart. I have the tendency to do negative self-talk, and looking forward to practice the 5 steps. What you wrote is so true. Your last paragraph makes me feel that I am not alone in this. I have success in many other aspects of my life, yet I love giving myself a hard time when I engage in negative self-talk. I keep asking myself, “Why is this happening to me?”. I need to begin to embrace the fact that even successful people are not immune to doing negative self talks.

  2. You are so right. Living with joy is a takes self-discipline. Taking negative thoughts captive.

    It is my first time here and I am truly enjoying. Warmest greetings from Berlin.

  3. After reading this I think I my cancel my time with my therapist tomorrow.

    I am grateful for your post.Very timely for me.

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