Everyday Lifestyle

Effective Self-Talk and Its Benefits

Most of us understand that how we choose to talk to others, and the words we use toward/about someone is very important because they can impact what that person feels or how they see themselves. This is much the same when it comes to self-talk and how we choose to speak to ourselves and what we plant as a seed in our own inner thoughts.

Self-talk is an internal discourse — that can be, for some, visual rather than verbal — that’s influenced by our subconscious mind and how we are (or are not) processing the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences that we encounter throughout life. Like the ways in which we choose to speak to others, our self-talk can either be positive, uplifting and affirming or negative, restrictive and stagnating. It’s deeply connected to our overall mental health because it can both trigger or perpetuate cycles of stress, depression and anxiety.

graphic link to post on transatlantic notes called effective self-talk and its benefits

Often it’s during the times when we are struggling in life when our self-talk can become particularly harsh or overly critical. As we fight through something that takes an emotional or mental toll on us, it can be very common that we start to speak about ourselves in a negative way causing us to generate more anxiety around our abilities, opportunities or successes. It can develop into a cycle of inaction or despondency that becomes self-fulfilling — so it’s essential that we learn how to combat it before it begins to work against us.

A useful step to begin combatting detrimental self-talk is to catch yourself when you do it and set aside some time (immediately, if convenient, or later on) to think about what may be behind it and whether or not it reflects reality (it’s an actual problem or issue that needs resolving) or if it’s a symptom/reaction to a separate issue that you’re grappling with. Get used to asking yourself if what you’ve just internalized is how you really think/feel or is it connected to something else that’s impacting your overall mental and emotional wellbeing. Consider whether or not your self-talk manifests a constructive way to move forward — if it doesn’t, and only serves to denigrate, it’s possible that you’re inwardly projecting your stress, anxiety or depression about something you’re navigating.

Think about how you talk to your friends and support them and try to do the same for yourself. | photo by Gemma Chua-Tran

Once you’ve examined why you might be using negative self-talk you can then actively challenge what you’ve said and turn it into something more realistic or self-soothing. For example, when I’m experiencing anxiety and stress I often disparage myself by saying I’m lazy if I haven’t done something or completed a task to my usual standard. As soon as I recognize that my inner dialogue is working against me, I take the time to remind myself that I don’t need to be outwardly productive in the same way when I’m emotionally tired and trying to manoeuvre through anxiety.

It’s important not to ignore negative thoughts as they often allude to something that needs to be addressed. It isn’t healthy or helpful, however, to think that we should only focus on the beneficial aspects of our lives and constantly search for the purpose/light in everything we experience. Believing that this is how we need to navigate life can contribute to a toxic positivity that leaves us feeling shame, isolation or guilt, etc about experiencing mental or emotional hardship and pain. Sometimes life is just terrible and we are entitled to feel what we feel. Learning how to acknowledge when we’re misdirecting negativity towards ourselves is key to making sure we can rise up even when we’re weighed down by what we carry.

For more comprehensive advice from mental health experts and health professionals, check out the links at the end of this article and throughout this post.

Do you use self-talk in a positive way? Are you able to catch yourself when it turns negative? How do you help yourself through difficult times?

Further Info:

Positive Self-Talk: How Talking to Yourself Is a Good Thing – HealthLine

Challenging Negative Self-Talk – Psych Central

Overcoming Negative Self-Talk – Mayo Mindfulness/ Mayo Clinic

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11 thoughts on “Effective Self-Talk and Its Benefits”

  1. This is so helpful as a reminder to be aware of how we talk to ourselves. When I get stressed I find that I get really negative about myself so the tips and links you provided are so useful. We can be our own worse critics and that isn’t always going to motivate us or be constructive.


  2. Excellent post! I’ve been doing my best to try and talk better to myself. It’s only this year that I’ve been even remotely successful and I am already feeling the massive benefits!


    1. Thank you! Self-talk is so important, and I’m just about getting the hang of it, and I’m sure it will be a work-in-progress throughout life. It’s so good to hear that you’ve been more successful with it this year and that it’s been beneficial, it’s incredible the link it has to our overall wellbeing!


  3. Great post! Self-talk is so important. I’ve been working on my self-talk for the last 2/3 years and it’s definitely a process. When your mind becomes so accustomed to thinking about yourself in a certain way it’s difficult to break out of it.

    “Sometimes life is just terrible and we are entitled to feel what we feel” – this reminds me of what my therapist said. We need to allow ourselves to feel the way we feel. The key is to not allow the negative self-talk to linger. We should acknowledge it and change it.

    Rashidah x | sheedahblogs.co.uk


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