I wanted to discuss the power of positive self- talk because it has made such a big difference in my personal and academic life. After I changed how I talked to myself, I started noticing great increases in well-being, productivity and relations with others. I figure most of you are starting a new semester so I hope this can be helpful for your well-being. Here are my tips for positive self talk:
- Talk to yourself like you are giving a good friend advice
If a friend came to you and told you that they watched Netflix for 4 hours instead of studying would you tell them that they are the biggest failure? Would you tell them that their life is over? No of course not, and if you did, chances are you two would not be friends for much longer. Well then why do we talk to ourselves like that? Shift the conversation and talk yourself no different than a friend.
- Become more aware of your self-talk
Sometimes we engage in negative self- talk constantly without even realizing it. One way to change the conversation is to write out this self-talk into a journal. For example, sometimes when I used to sleep in late I would wake up and start the negative self-talk. I used to tell myself, “I am such a failure, I can’t even stick to my goals” and “my day is ruined and I always do this.” This used to result in me feeling upset and usually my day turned out to be much less efficient than it could have been. When I started writing this negative self-talk, I objectively looked at it on paper and asked myself if I really am a failure for waking up at 9:30 am instead of 7 am? Is my day actually ruined? NO! I reframed the conversation with myself and said, “Yea, I slept in two hours and missed going to the gym, however, I still have eight productive hours left to study and improve myself.” Similar to writing negative self-talk into a journal, you can also record it in a voice note and listen to it at a later time to realize how silly you sound.
- Turn a critical statement into a question
Using my example above, instead of calling myself a failure and telling myself that my entire day is ruined, I would turn that statement into question. For example, I could say, “ how can I avoid sleeping late in the future?” “What can I do to improve and make sure that I go to bed earlier?” If you reframe your critical statements into questions, you avoid the judgment that makes you feel down and you start developing a growth mindset.
- Avoid “Absolutes”
If you are like me then sometimes you will spend too much time on Reddit or Netflix. Before I changed my self-talk, I would catch myself saying, “I always spend too much time on the Internet” and “ I never stick to my study schedule.” Words like “always” and “never” are what I like to call absolute words. Avoid absolute words and statements! I shifted the conversation by saying, “ Sometimes I spend too much time on Reddit, however, I can improve that by reading an interesting book instead to fill that void.”
I am not going to sugar coat it, this takes work, however, if you keep at it you will notice significant improvements in well-being, productivity and relationships. If we are engaging in negative self-talk and being unkind to ourselves then how can we be kind to others around us? I found that when I started this conversation shift, I was happier with myself and this resulted in improved relationships with friends, family, and significant others. I believe everything starts with our minds, so lets keep strengthening it!
Enjoy your new semester!
The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.