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Accentuate the Positive Self-Talk

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Keeping a positive outlook on life can certainly be a challenge, especially when there seems to be so much negativity everywhere you turn. While I am slowly learning to master the art of dealing with stress, thanks to many of the suggestions from our members in an earlier blog, learning to project a more positive outlook in my life is the next step to taming the voice inside my head.

In fact, research has shown that negative self-talk can be quite detrimental to our overall health and well being by:

  • Lowering our self-esteem
  • Making us more susceptible to illness
  • Increasing stress in our lives
  • Limiting our abilities to think through an issue or problem
  • Leading to greater anxiety

    This is one area my running coach really has really helped me with. Last summer when I started doing speed drills, it wasn’t too uncommon for me to make up every excuse I could to avoid doing them. I was too old. It was too hot. I just couldn’t do them. But Coach Lee, in all his infinite wisdom that a 25 year could have, would run up right beside me and say, “If you believe you can’t succeed, you won’t. When you have this type of talk going through your mind, you will fulfill exactly what you believe is true. So you need to restructure your self-talk. Tell yourself you will do your best to cross the finish line and you will.”

    While I would like to say I conquered this battle last summer, I have been on this journey far too long to know that it is going to take some time and patience. However, waking up every morning with a positive thought and reading through my countless inspirational quotes and daily affirmations, I am beginning to let go of the negative self-talk, eager to embrace the positive. Just taking a few minutes every day practicing positive self-talk can do wonders.

    If I find I have a lousy dinner Friday night, instead of beating myself up for falling short, I must stop my thinking and change directions. Therefore I tell myself, “Just because I had a not-so-good dinner Friday night does not mean that I have to have a not-so-good weekend. One meal will not undo all the hard work I have done so far.”

    I am also using this same technique in helping me learn to accept my body for what it is. I have been blessed with very muscular legs, but I never really saw them like that until a few months ago. I have learned to accept them for what they are. I no longer refer to them as my ‘fat thighs.’ I now refer to them as powerful hamstrings and quadriceps that allow me to power up a hill or to sprint across the finish line.

    Letting go of the negative self-talk is something I must work at every day. It is so easy to get caught up in it. But once you learn that you are the one in control of how you respond to the negative self-talk, then all you need to do is practice changing directions.

    Have you ever practiced the technique of positive self-talk? Have you ever found yourself falling into the trap of negativity when others start complaining? Do you think that we can change our ways just by how we think?

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LEANJEAN6 7/17/2020
interesting --very useful! Report
Great article! Report
USMAWIFE 7/3/2020
thank you Report
Be thankful for what you have and who you are Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Well stated! Thanks! Report
Time to edit out the netativity reel that plays in the head!!! Report
great. Report
Positive self talk is a must for me and my motivation Report
I practice positive self-talk.
I can love myself, and I can accomplish my goals. I'll talk myself into the best days of my life! Report
Love this blog. I have always had major self-esteem issues so I know what negative thinking can do to you. You have just reminded me of why positive thinking is so important and that I can change the way I think. It's like anything else... I have to practice. Report
Thanks for the great blog! Report
I work foodservice at a college/university and during the school year I am faced with not-too-healthy foods for 7 hrs. I talk to myself throughout the day in a positive tone and with a positive message, otherwise I would indulge in the fries, onion rings, etc. I tell myself that I can bypass them and eat the mandarin spinach salad instead and enjoy it more (just an example). The positive talk helps me stay away from those naughty things. Report
Thanks for the reminder of the importance of positive self talk. It is something I need to work on daily. Report
Definitely going to start incorporating this new tool. Thanks! Report
This is great and exactly what I deal with a lot!!! What a great reminder to ditch the negative self talk. Report
I think most of us have had a day or two of negative self talk........maybe it wasn't over working out or diet but we have all had them. I find it is a very hard habit to break. Eating healthier seems to be easier some days. lol I just keep trying and doing my best........that is all I can do. Report
I think we all engage in negative self talk. But positive thinking gets us so much further! Report
I am guilty of negative thinking. Thanks for the article. Report
I have added "Give yourself a 5-minute mental pep talk" to my goals. Spending a solid five minutes on positive self-talk in this way ensures that you have that block of time focused directly and solely on the positive about yourself. It also ensures that you do spend at the very least a solid five minutes in confidence building thoughts; ongoing positive thinking throughout the day is the aim but in the flow of ups and downs of a day it's easy to get to the end of the day and realise thoughts have mainly been worry/stress/harried etc. Using a daily, regular five minutes for yourself in this way is a good foundation to build more on with more positive thinking as the day progresses, as the exercise seeps into your thought throughout the day; and of course when you feel good about yourself those around you benefit. Report
I'm taking a course right now, and one of the texts is called "Thought Patterns for a Successful Career" by Lou Tice. It should be titled "Thought Patterns for a Successful Life" and it should be mandatory reading for every school kid as soon as they learn how to read! It's all about positive self-talk and changing how we see ourselves. I had to get to be 51 years old before I started to learn this, but I am learning it and practicing it every day, and it is already making a huge difference in my daily life. Report
Just a couple of weeks ago I started on a quest to be "a better person." The main goal of that is to be more positive about things. Less judgmental about people, genuinely friendlier to customers, ignoring ALL of the negative people around me and not allowing myself to get caught up in the daily work "complain-fest." I still throw my 2 cents in, but I don't get all worked up like I used to, and like some others still do. Also, whenever I notice myself thinking negatively I try to think of something positive. It's tough because this is the way I've thought for my nearly 27 years, but it really does work! I've felt a whole lot happier and a little less stressed! Report
I am all about positive self talk! I have been practicing positive self talk on a daily basi for over a year now. It is awesome!!!!! I catch negative thoughts coming in and replace them immediately with positive thoughts, or at least i try. it gets easier as time goes by. I really foces on that. That might be why i feel a little obsessive at times.
Cara Report
I start each day on the way to work listing to "Become Totally Positive - Automatically" it sets the tone for the day and when I start the negative self talk, I think of the CD and start saying some of the affirmations.

Thanks for the Blog!
Negative self talk is a very addictive behavior. For all of you who think that when you lose the weight you will be happy, you will not. You will feel the same about yourself as you did when you were overweight. Losing weight isn't going to be the magic potion to change how you feel about yourself. However, having said that, I think that the power of feeling better about yourself comes with change. Changing your habits, your thoughts, and how you feel about yourself. But you don't need to lose weight to change these things. You can do it right now. I try every day not to think negatively, but I still do from time to time. It has gotten better. I was very happy to read this blog because I think that the underlying issues for those of us who need to lose weight is this negativity we feel towards ourselves. That we don't have enough will power, or time, or we aren't perfect enough. This is something we can all work on and become better people for doing it! How we feel about ourselves is the most important thing. Keep the positive self talk going! Report
I too struggle with the challenge of negative thoughts every now and then. Since joining Spark People, I have noticed I am better at turning it around to a more positive thought and not allowing it to ruin my day. Report
Thanks for the encouragement. I will begin to positively speak the body that I want into existence. Report
Thanks for the great blog.. I feel bad about my self all the time.. I am to fat i am this and that.. My hubby tell me all the time that it is a bad thing to do that i am working on my self and i will loose and be happy.. But i should not need to put my self down it is not a good thing to do around my girls that it will put the -- thought into there heads.. I know that it is wrong to do this but when you feel bad about your self then it shows.. My hubby is the one person that keeps be from being to hard on my self.. It's a good thing that he Love's me the way that i am.. I just want to do this for me.. I think that i will be a lot happier with out all of this extra weight.. I am going to start walking with these lady that i see walking all the time.. I went to her house to pick up my son and i asked her about it and see said that i could go with them anytime it was just her that started then the more she when out the more she was joined by other.. She walks almost every day .. She told me to get my shoes on and come on out.. I am not a joiner it takes a lot for me to put my self out there.. She also told me that all i had to do was just start .. that all the ladys had to start some places and go from there.. It is something you have to want to do..I got a call for Linda the lady that started the walking and told me that there was no way that i could get out of them now that she knew that i want to go along.. I need to put my self first and keep good thoughts going.. I have lost 30 lbs
in 6 month that is a great start.. when i hit the 50 lbs mark i am going to get some real work out clothes..it is a goal for me.. at the 30 lbs i bought an exercise bike.. now i need to get on it and use it.. Report
I guess I am fortunate to already have the positive self-talk habbit well developed. I do get frustrated at times but I remind myself on a daily basis that my glass is half-full, not half empty. Report
I call the negative voice in my head , SPONDULEX, and I don't listen to her because she is a liar. Never interested in MY best interest but hers, and then afterwards she starts with the criticism. NO. Not listening. Report
Positive self talk is great! I was introduced to that when I was playing basketball in middle school (1976). Coach would make us do it before and after a game. I have introduced it to many people including Sweet Adelines and my children were brought up on it! Remember that Elenor Roosevelt said "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." Report
AH! The positive self-talk! Before I began my Spark journey in January, I'd been suffering through an extended period of blah... ennui... just feeling down and not too happy with myself. Then I read "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind," by Dr. Joseph Murphy, and implemented some of his suggestions of how to get my brain to become my ally. I wrote out my new mantras and read them in the morning, repeatedly, and before bed, repeatedly. Slowly but surely, I started moving in a much more positive direction. I thought differently and acted differently. I was amazed!

These are a few of my positive mantras:
• I exercise daily and enjoy doing so.
• I will healthily get down to my ideal weight of 128.
• I have a perfectly proportioned and healthy body.
I have lived in chronic pain for a long time (I was hit by a drunk driver 32 yrs ago). Positive talk gets harder and harder as the years go by, but I am motivated to exercise and move every day. When I find myself shutting down, I call a good friend. This is very hard to do, but I always get encouragement, support and often laughter. I also take pictures of my little granddaughter and send them to family members. I post one as a desktop picture and I smile everytime I see her. Report
Overall I have a very positive attitude on life. But reading this great article I realized that I'm comparing myself with members of Spark People, chastizing myself got not doing as much as some of them do. Instead I need to move back to praising myself for what I do! Thanks! Report
I found this here in Spark People and share it with my team everytime we start a new challenge:

We all have what I like to call inner chatter — that voice in your head that says "I can't do this" or "Yes, I can do this!" What does the voice inside your head say about your efforts to get fit? Are the messages positive and encouraging, or just the opposite?

Make a conscious effort today to take note of your inner chatter so that you can decide whether it's helping you succeed in your exercise efforts — or holding you back. If your inner self-talk is negative, it's easy enough to fix; it just takes some practice!

Next time you're heading to the gym or deciding whether or not to go for a jog, take note of any negative messages you send yourself and replace them with a positive spin! Here are some ways you can change negative thinking:

--Instead of thinking "This won't work," think "I can make this work!"
--Instead of "It's a waste of time," think "It will be worth the extra effort!"
--Instead of "It's not going to make a difference," think "I'll never know unless I try!"
--Instead of "It hasn't worked before," think "I'll try again!"
--Instead of "I've already tried that," think "I can learn from my mistakes!"
-- Instead of "I don't like that exercise" or "It sounds too difficult," think "I'm excited to try some new things!"
-- Instead of "That was painful! Never again," think "Wow, I just got through some hard work, and next time it will be easier!"

You can learn to be positive about getting fit — just practice having a more optimistic mind-set. Be your own cheerleader and boost your own confidence.

— Welcome to Morning Stretch with Denise Austin. Tuesday February 03, 2009
Yeah! This one hit home. Brought back childhood memories. I fought the tears. I have to work harder at positive thinking. My self-esteem is very low, I feel locked-down and therefore I give up easily. It won't happen overnight but I am looking myself in the mirror and working on the positive self-talk. I will definitely rise and shine. Report
I, too, am a victim of my own negative thinking. Learning to think positive seems like it should be so easy, but when you have spent your life being negative it is not so easy. Most of the time, I don't even realize that I am thinking negative thoughts!! I have to make a conscious effort to think positive. I have been thinking negatively for so long, that the negative just comes naturally. I'm a work in progress!! Report
I grew up around constant negativity. I don't think my parents knew that's what it was... I don't think they know even now. I only figured it out myself in the last year or so. I've been negative about myself all my life. I didn't know I was negative. It's just the way things were... like a way of life and I didn't know any better. Once I got a glimpse of what a positive attitude could do I was hooked! I've been reading about it and trying my best to practice it all the time. It's a fascinating subject. So far it's ruined my life, but I intend on changing that! Report
I am 55 years old and this too is one of the hardest thing I need to work at. I slip into negative thinking quite easily.I l know mentally this self talk works but emotionally I can beat myself up pretty badly. However I recently read a phrase that speaks volumes to me and I use it many times during the day..."Life is Precious...Enjoy the Moment" So whatever negative stuff is playing inside my head this simple phrase brings me back to thinking positive and being appreciative of where and what I am. Report
Yes I think we can change by the way we think, it takes a lot of practice though. It is especially hard to do when others around you are talking negatively. When I'm on a particularly hard run, or doing an especially hard exercise, I tell myself "I know I can do one more rep, or go one more mile". It more often than not works too. Report
I have a quote hanging in my classroom
If you think you can or you think you can't - you are right!
Henry Ford
That says it all! Report
Thanks to all of you who have responded. I have a l............ong way to go in this area of my life. I need to practice self talk a lot more. Report
I had a bad cold with cough for the past couple weeks and did not do well with exercise and didnot track my food either.. The result: my weight shooted up.. I need this article today and I am goin to start over again :) Report
. I needed this blog today! Just returning from a trip with parents. Listening to them sounding like little kids. Needless to say I ate very badly while gone with no exercise at all! : ( ! ! Returning was hard getting back on track. I started to make excuses to eat what ever because I already gained weight!! : ( Well i decided to stop all that jazz!!! O.K. I fell off but I got back up again. I plan to stay up and running!!JANETTS57 Thanks for good info. Report
I really believe in positive self talk... and I know it's also a tricky balance. Somewhere between being perfect and being perfectly messed up, we all fit in the spectrum. I believe in loving myself the way I love a toddler- unconditional love, with continuous direction. Change is good, life is great! Report
I grew up with enough hearing enough negative stuff to last me 2 lifetimes. Kinda like the song from the Wiz-"You Can't Win, You Can't Break Even and You Can't Get Out of the Game." These days I wake up and the first thing I tell myself is "This is the day the Lord has made! Rejoice and be glad in it!" and the second thing is to remind myself that nothing, absolutely nothing can happen that God and I can't handle together! It works! Report
Positive self talk is needed constantly to defeat the negative self talk that i do through out the day...in fact i made it a goal to do at least 1 a day. Report
Yes, I have to talk to myself all the time because my mind, when left to its own devices, heads straight down hill, taking my day along with it. I do not want to allow that to happen so I try to be on the alert to stop negative talk and replace it with positive thoughts and affirmations. Report
Trying to be more positive is just as much a process as trying to lose weight, work on a relationship, or just live your life. It's a journey to self awareness. I find, for me anyway, that the older I get, the more aware I am of when self defeating thoughts come into my brain. And sometimes I chases them away quite easily, and other times I have to fight my way through them in order for them to exit. Is this the difference of being in a relatively good mood or bad mood when this happens? I don't know. What I do know is that the more aware I am, the negative self talk is fewer and farther between. Report
This is so true! I notice that if I wake up and say to myself that I WILL have a good day, I have a good day. If I wake up with complaining and resentment...etc...that's exactly how my day goes and I find myself depressed the entire day. Our thinking is very crucial to our well being! Report
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