It’s pretty well known that positive thinking and having an optimistic mindset can play a key role in how successful we are in pursuing and achieving our goals. On the other hand, endless streams of negative thoughts can keep us stressed out, exhausted and unproductive.
A good indicator of whether your thinking is positive or negative is self-talk. Self-talk is the constant inner dialog we have with ourselves throughout the day. This dialog can be positive or negative, and can have a huge impact on your mood. Most of the time we’re not really conscious of it and don’t realize when we’re being negative, or even downright disrespectful, to ourselves.
When self-talk is mostly negative we tend to be irritable, less productive and possibly even have feelings of anxiety or depression. On the other hand, when self-talk is mostly positive, we tend to be more productive, feel better about ourselves and those around us, and more likely to make healthy choices for ourselves.
What does your inner dialog look like? Are your conversations with yourself positive and uplifting, or do you have a tendency to second-guess yourself, put yourself down, or limit yourself due to negative self-talk?
Take this short quiz from LiveHappy.com to see how you rate on self-talk. Then, keep reading for a few tips on how to changeyour self-talk.
Take the 10 question quiz: Answer either 1 or 2, and keep track of your responses.
1.I tend to be hard on myself. I might be self-critical or overly judgmental about my appearance, behaviors or feelings.
1. If a friend is angry with me about something, I might think of even more things he or she might be angry about.
1.I know my weaknesses and think about them often.
1.I have been known to over think things to the point of upsetting myself unnecessarily.
1. I don’t typically compliment myself, even privately or in my own mind.
1. When I feel angry, sad or afraid, I panic because it’s hard to help myself feel better.
1. If people could play a tape of my mind, they would be surprised that my thoughts are as negative as they are.
1. I am kinder to others than I am to myself.
Add up the numbers from your answers:
1–10: Your mind tends to be filled with an excessive amount of negative self-talk, which can be emotionally burdening. Try to work toward being nicer to yourself and making your thoughts more positive. Perhaps try to take extra time out to look for the good in yourself and in situations. Make an extra effort to listen to your self-talk so that you can identify what is causing the moments of dread or fear and attempt to shift your perspective and see things from a more objective point of view.
10-20: In general, you have good skills when it comes to positive thinking. You tend to be great at encouraging yourself and speaking to yourself in an affirmative and healthy way. When you hear yourself becoming negative, stop yourself and see if you can look at the situation (or judgment) from a different, more positive perspective.
Some tips for improving your self-talk:
The Mayo Clinic lists some example of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them:
I’ve never done it before.
It’s an opportunity to learn something new.
It’s too complicated.
I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
I don’t have the resources.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
I’m too lazy to get this done.
I wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule, but I can re-examine some priorities.
There’s no way it will work.
I can try to make it work.
It’s too radical a change.
Let’s take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me.
I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I’m not going to get any better at this.
I’ll give it another try.
Practice these implementing these positive thinking twists every day. Change won’t happen overnight, but eventually you’ll find your self-talk is less critical and more accepting of yourself. Positive feelings about yourself can promote a positive outlook in general, help you be more productive and stick with your goals, and make healthier choices for yourself.
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