Using Positive Self-Talk is Key to Your Health

Using Positive Self-Talk is Key to Your Health

Last update: 06 April, 2019

We all have a little voice inside of us commonly known as our internal dialogue. It’s there to make us evaluate, question, and reflect on everything we do. Its mission is to help us progress and grow. However, a problem arises when it becomes very demanding. When this happens, instead of encouraging us to progress, it keeps us stuck in our comfort zone. Have you ever experienced this? Have you felt that you’re being overly demanding with yourself, so much so that your self-esteem is suffering the consequences?

If the answer is yes, you’ll find practical advice in this article to help keep your self-criticism at bay. You’ll also learn how to practice healthy self-talk. Broadly speaking, it’s all about knowing yourself. You have to know how to demand a better performance from yourself without experiencing emotional exhaustion and that need for perfection. Let’s delve deeper into this.

Learning to deal with frustration to cultivate healthy self-talk

The first step in practicing healthy self-talk is working on increasing your tolerance for frustration. This means that you have to accept the normal changes that happen every day. When something doesn’t go the way you want it to, that doesn’t mean that “it’s the end of the world” even if you’re feeling that way.

In other words, if you want to be more tolerant of frustration, you have to fight emotional reason. Emotional reason is when you think based on how you feel rather than actually analyzing reality.

Also, if you want to improve your tolerance for frustration, you need to change the language and words you use to shape your feelings. It’s all about transforming your thoughts and using more flexible, caring self-talk. For example, you should replace words that are defeatist and dramatic with others that will bring you back to reality. By doing this, you’ll start to use the power of language in your favor.

A woman engaging in self-talk.

Practice empathy

One of the best ways to practice a healthy internal dialogue is to start applying it to the people around you. To do this, you have to reflect on how much you demand from others. Do you encourage them to excel or do you punish them if they don’t meet your expectations? This is why it’s so important to balance out what you ask from others. If you push them too far out of their comfort zone, it can make them feel panicked or scared. This will later turn into resentment.

On another note, it’s important that you stop labeling others based on whether or not they meet your expectations. Making a habit out of this will allow you to stop putting labels on yourself.

“We complain about our friends because we demand more from them than they can give.”

-Santiago Ramon Cajal-

Thus, empathy is a fundamental skill when it comes to having healthy and reasonable expectations from yourself and others. Think about how others feel when they don’t reach their goals. Think about how you feel when things don’t go your way. Aren’t those feelings enough? Is it necessary to criticize yourself or another person on top of the way they’re already feeling?

Balance your interests, well-being, and needs

Always remember why and what you demand. Above all, you should think about the consequences of your demands. If your inner voice is demanding so much that it’s causing you discomfort and conflicts with your family, co-workers, or partner, it’s time to become more flexible and adjust your goals. 

In the long term, it’s not worth being so hard on yourself. You need to learn to practice a healthy inner dialogue in your day to day life. Put your ambitious side on mute for a little bit and let yourself experience pleasure and relaxation. Not everything has to be about work, obligations, and perfection.

A woman relaxing on the grass.

Therefore, you need to prioritize moments where you’re completely disconnected from sources of stress. You need to use these moments to care for yourself. A great exercise you can do to lower the volume of your perfectionist inner voice is to take mental breaks. This means that, during your work day, you should move, drink water, and focus your attention on something else at least every hour. Direct that attention towards your personal needs. Self-talk has to be a means, not an end. 

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

-Elbert Hubbard-

Remember that self-talk should help you take some steps out of your comfort zone. If it keeps you within that zone and doesn’t let you move forward because you’re paralyzed with fear, you don’t have a healthy self-talk. It’s in your hands to end this defeating inner voice. Accept yourself as you are and learn to be a little more flexible with yourself and others.

If you try to change how much you demand from yourself and you find that you’re not able to do it alone, you should ask for help. There are many highly-trained psychology professionals that can help you be the healthiest and best version of yourself. 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.