We’re all seeking ways to be smarter, live longer, cultivate positive feelings, have deeper relationships, be more productive, influence people and resolve conflicts. Scientific research shows that the words we use have an incredible power to help us achieve all of this. It’s easy to think that more money and material objects like a fancy car or designer clothes could make you happier. But the truth is that your perspective on life dictates how you feel, and the words you use to talk to yourself and others, color your perspective. Learn more about positive self-talk, and how you can use it to improve your life.
Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts running through your mind—they can be either positive, or negative. While some of it comes from logic and reason, at other times it may arise from misconception or assumption. The quality of your self-talk impacts the way you behave and in turn, affects the behavior of those around you. A happy person is more likely to be less stressed, healthier and more productive in the long run compared to someone who is always putting themselves down.
Ask The Important Questions
Do you find yourself only focusing on the negative in any situation? Are you unable to accept genuine compliments? Do you imagine the worst possible outcome when you embark on a new task? Do you tend to take things personally all the time? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you definitely indulge in negative self-talk. Maybe it’s time you addressed the issue.
Flip The Switch
Make a list of the things that typically upset you and find a way to flip it around. Focus on one good aspect of each item and make that larger than life. For example, if you hate your job, think about how it gives you financial freedom and stability. By switching the way you perceive something, you take away its power to upset you, and put yourself in charge. When you laugh at things that would normally leave you in tears, you’re allowing humor to prevent the emotional damage. Monitoring your thoughts on a regular basis will stop you from sliding back into old patterns.
Flex Those Mental Muscles
Learning to use positive self-talk is a lot like getting in shape. You will feel strange initially but as your verbal muscles get stronger, you will gradually find yourself able to deal better with difficult situations and people. The key is to never give up, even when hope is slim. Just as working out with a buddy gives you the motivation to do those extra laps, hanging out with optimistic people makes it easier to stay positive. Pick your company wisely.
Ignore Genetic Baggage
Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, says that your view of life is partly determined at birth because there is a genetic component to pessimism. However, it’s not a hundred percent. She adds that it’s possible to raise your general level of happiness by simply shifting your perspective. Most people also inherit traits like being self-critical or pessimistic, because they learn these from observing their parents. Fortunately, these can be reversed with a little time and practice.
Life has a lot to offer, and the potential for happiness is limitless, so stop beating yourself up. Explore positive self-talk as a tool to be joyous and to get more done. Being kind to yourself is the first step—everything else will fall into place.