Self-Talk

Do you ever talk to yourself? Lots of people do. But when you talk to yourself, do you use a negative tone? For example, "I'll never get all of my work done" or "I have to get it right the first time."

Self-talk, also known as automatic thinking, refers to all of the things that you say to yourself. Self-talk can be rational – based on reasoning, logic or facts – or it can be irrational. It can be positive or negative.

Though the running commentary in your head may seem harmless, it can affect your perception of events around you. If you label too many situations with a negative tone, life can be gloomy and cause you stress. It can also lead to depression.

You can take steps to turn negative thoughts around. It starts with relabeling (reframing).

How often do you say to yourself, "I should never make mistakes" or "I always say stupid things"? Notice the words should, always and never. Relabeling your mental messages with a more positive outlook can help increase your perspective of the entire situation and aid in managing your stress response. Here are some examples:

Negative self-talk

Positive reframing

I'm not smart enough to do this.

I can learn how to do this.

I'm never going to learn how to manage my stress.

I'm going to try to learn how to manage my stress.

There's never enough time to get things done.

I'll take a time management class and see if it makes a difference.

It's a waste of time.

The time spent will be worth the effort.

I'm not going to get any better at this.

I'll try again.

There's no way it will work.

I can make it work.

No one bothers to communicate.

I'll see if I can open the channels.

It's not my job.

I'll be glad to take the responsibility.

It's too risky.

Let's take a chance. After all, the biggest risk is in not taking a risk.

It will never fly.

I'll never know unless I try.

Let somebody else deal with it.

I'm ready to learn something new.

It's not going to get any better.

I'll try one more time.

I'm understaffed.

I'm a lean, mean machine. And I can handle this.

It's good enough.

There's always room for improvement.

I can't compete.

I'll get a jump-start on the competition.

I've already tried it.

I'll learn from this experience.

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