We’re very good at being critical with ourselves. So good, in fact, that many of us don’t feel like we are capable of changing behaviors toward a healthier life, or that we even deserve a healthier life! But with practice, we can change the course of our entire lives. According to Shonna Waters, PhD, we can learn to manage stress, increase immunity, improve our mental and physical well-being, increase self-esteem, and even live a longer life if we engage in positive self-talk.
WHAT IS SELF-TALK
Self-talk is our internal dialogue; the thoughts that run through our heads throughout the course of the day. These thoughts determine our self-worth and if they are negative, we will have a very negative view of ourselves. Conversely, if they’re positive, our outlook on ourselves will be positive. It may seem daunting, but with a few tweaks to our daily internal dialogue, we will see a massive shift in how we see ourselves and overcome the obstacles to living our healthiest lives.
HOW TO INCORPORATE POSITIVE SELF-TALK
Start every day with intention. Allow yourself 1-2 minutes to focus on what goals you have and give yourself some positive self-talk. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- I deserve to look and feel healthy.
- I will nourish my body with the food that I eat.
- I am worthy of a body I love.
- Today I will get one step closer to my ideal weight.
- I will choose progress over perfection.
Work with your inner critic. If your inner critic is ranting, ignore it. If you are pestering yourself with thoughts you can’t turn off, take some time to determine if there is something useful you can do about it so you can move on.
If these don’t work, shift your attention to helping others. It’s hard to engage in negative self-talk when we are showing compassion.
Finally, refer to yourself in the third person. This helps you to think more objectively and allows you to be gentler with yourself. (Example: “I failed at losing weight this week.” Change that thought to, “Jane didn’t put in the best effort last week, but she will do better in the days to come.”