*Do you realize many of us went for almost two years (lockdowns, restrictions, etc) with no practice in some of these skills? It has handicapped our social interactions and bludgeoned our nation’s mental health.*

Does Positive Self Talk Really Work?

This is a question I’ve asked myself for a long time. In this age of anxiety and uncertainty all around us—it’s so easy to default to the ‘worry thoughts.’ Sometimes it has worked and sometimes it hasn’t, so it doesn’t seem as easy as simply talking to yourself positively. It’s HOW you do it. Many don’t know where to start. And before we can begin to help others in this area, many susceptible to depression or suicide, we need to practice this ourselves. Let’s talk about our inner dialogue.

What is positive self-talk?

Positive self-talk is an internal dialogue that makes a person feel good about themselves. A person can use positive self-talk to think optimistically and feel motivated. Identifying negative self-talk is the first step toward thinking more positively.–medicalnewstoday.com

Seems easy enough, right? Well, not really…but let’s talk about how you can benefit from this practice, no matter how positive you think you are.

What are the benefits of positive self-talk?

  • Improved mood
  • Better life satisfaction
  • Improved immune system
  • Less stress
  • Increased vitality
  • Improved performance and desire for physical activity

The typical idea of positive self-talk isn’t about being chronically optimistic, rather, it’s about reframing your thoughts to more positive ones. Here are some examples of positive self-talk.

  • “I hate my job” – “I’m fortunate to have a job”
  • “My life is a mess.” – “I’m lucky I’m here”
  • “This is too difficult.” – “I can do this!”
  • It’s going to be a hard day.”—“Pace yourself, enjoy and look for the good moments!”
  • “I wish I was more like them.” – “I have my own strengths—let me count them!”
  • “I’m failing.” – “I’m still trying and will get there in the end. Just the fact that I STARTED is a win.”
  • “Today is going to suck.” – “I’m going to do things I love today, along with the things I don’t!”
  • “I wish things were better.” – “I know things will get better. And I am doing things to make them better.”
  • “You’re no good.” – “You’re capable of anything. Each person’s “version” of you does not matter, and can never be truly authentic and complete. Your version of you, and God’s version is what counts!”
  • “Things seem really dull for me.” – “There’s many reasons to smile. I need to go out and be with friends, take a walk, and do something I love or feel guilty doing because I love it!”

It sort of works in “flashes”

I remember, each day, when I sit down and work at my ‘job’ (and hobbies that take work!) that I couldn’t stand my job for many years–even though it was something I was passionate about– I realized, even then, that I was lucky to have a job, and to be fulfilling part of my passion in life, even if each job has its pros and cons. I was grateful that I had money coming in and I was also grateful for my clients—more than ever!

When it came to a new “challenge” of something new to me, I remember telling myself I was just as worthy as anyone else for the role and didn’t allow self-doubt to creep into my mind. I have no doubt the positive self-talk at that moment, and my following voice of confidence got me the things I wanted.

*Beware the “I’m unworthy” loop in your head. It’s a lie. Straight from the enemy to keep you in spiritual and social inertia.*

At the same time, there have been many occasions where self-talk has not helped me. These are usually the days when I have woken up and felt ‘down’ for no particular reason—perhaps it was the weather, season, something that happened the previous day, or a negative thought upon waking. Perhaps I would try to talk to myself positively, but then something would happen that would confirm that positive self-talk wasn’t even worth trying in the first place. But, when I began to reframe and reprogram my thinking, I was able to find SOMETHING each day to be thankful for, first thing. I forced myself to do it. And before I knew it, I had LISTS of simple things I was thankful for, in addition to the big things.

Remember: You have to BELIEVE YOURSELF to begin with.” (So prove to yourself that you have power over your negative thoughts and the superpower to re-invent and elevate yourself in a healthy way)

Why positive self-talk doesn’t work (all the time)

Unreasonably optimistic thinking can trigger a self-defeating spiral, particularly for those prone to anxiety and depression. Research shows that while repeating positive self-statements may benefit people with high self-regard, it can backfire for those lacking confidence.–psychcentral.com

Most times, if you feel like a failure, your wife or husband leaves you and you run out of money, it’s going to be hard to talk to yourself positively. When you’re in a situation like this, it’s likely you’ll find it almost impossible to see the good in your life and begin to talk to yourself positively. However, when things start going well for you, the world opens back up for you. During these “wasteland” times of life (as I call them) you whisper out the slightest prayer to the Lord and ask HIM to show you what you need to see—and how to think about your circumstances. This can avoid feeling trapped in your situation and your thinking. God is the one who has the power to RENEW YOUR MIND!!! (We can’t do it alone!)

In other words, when you see the possibilities in your life, positive thinking becomes much easier. You begin to see a route to take and fresh opportunities. You begin to OWN the promises of God to be faithful—even at moments when it does not ‘feel’ that way, we can remember that Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (In the previous verse, the spirit pleads with believers to be in harmony with God’s will.) When we are in His will, we know it will work together for good. It’s part of the maturing process of the believer. God has a higher purpose and will, even through negative circumstances.

Positive experiences > positive emotions > positive self-talk

Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina and she published a ground-breaking paper that provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills.

Fredrickson’s research shows that if you ‘expose yourself to positive experiences, you’re more likely to feel positive emotions, and when you’re feeling positive emotions, you’re more likely to practice positive self-talk.’

In other words, it’s important for children (and adults!) to go out and play, engage in play activities and talk to other children. This is because these experiences teach the child how to interact with others while they learn how far they can take things with their peers before things become too rough. It also teaches life skills and can build confidence if a child is coached to emotional maturity in this area. Sadly, most of us never learned this skill growing up and need to cultivate it.

*Do you realize many of us went for almost two years (lockdowns, restrictions, etc) with no practice in some of these skills? It has handicapped our social interactions and bludgeoned our nation’s mental health.*

It’s easy to hide from the world when you experience negative emotions such as depression. You may lie in bed all day, ‘hiding,’ but you are also hiding from the possibilities in your life that you can’t find under a blanket. In other words, the world shrinks away and there’s more chance of you talking to yourself negatively.

As with healthy child interaction, when you expose yourself to healthy, affirming adult social situations and interact with a group of people, you learn how to speak to a variety of different people. You broaden/practice your social skills and become more positive about yourself and the world around you. You begin to understand that people sometimes need to be interacted with differently from others helping you to be more compassionate, assertive, patient, and understanding. You build a communication skillset you can call upon whenever needed, this way. Break out by creating better habits throughout your week whether it’s making more time to play, meditating, keeping a written schedule, changing your diet, or simply going for more walks—and don’t forget about intentionally getting together with positive people that make you feel good about yourself and who spread positivity. Those three things are always recommended for positivity and good mental health—so I feel it wrong not to at least mention them here. Many of us gave up GOOD habits over the past two years, either out of necessity or lack of drive. It may be time to give yourself permission to go back to those things.

There’s nothing like accomplishing something you’ve wanted to do –and even put off. It will create a more positive frame of mind! Go for it!!

Speak Your Mind


*Do you realize many of us went for almost two years (lockdowns, restrictions, etc) with no practice in some of these skills? It has handicapped our social interactions and bludgeoned our nation’s mental health.*