Why positive self-talk is the highest form of self-care

Self-care is having a moment right now. It often accompanies a selfie in a face mask (which we’re not opposed to) or a giant bubble bath. While self-care can be found in beauty regimes or material possessions, it’s also important to consider the mental and emotional aspects.

At the end of the day, is it really self-care if your skin looks flawless but on the inside you’re in a negative spiral of putting yourself down or self doubt?

Let’s get back to the foundations of self-care, by discussing positive self-talk.

Most of us are conscious of our inner voice that provides a running monologue throughout the day and night. This inner voice combines conscious thoughts with unconscious beliefs and biases, as a way of the brain trying to interpret and process daily experiences.

This voice is useful when it is positive, talking down fears and bolstering confidence. But human nature is prone to negative self-talk, and sweeping assertions like “I can’t do anything right” or “I’m not going to achieve this goal” can appear. This negativity can be unrealistic and even harmful, paralysing us into inaction and self-absorption.

Switching up the dialogue with positive self-talk can make you feel stronger, help you be more of the person you want to be, and give you greater confidence. The more you do it, the better you will feel.

Ways in which we can practice positive self-talk:

  • Practice daily affirmations: Our thoughts precede our emotions and behaviours.

  • Recite mantras that encourage self-compassion: bring your attention to being good to yourself.

  • Journal your strengths and everything about you which you are grateful for: document everything you accomplish, feel good about, do right, like about yourself, etc. Because I love anything digital, I have a monthly list on Asana of everything I have achieved personally and professionally for the month.

  • Thought-Stopping: As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, stop your thought mid-stream by literally saying to yourself “Stop”. Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts, and where.

  • Surround yourself with positive people: whether or not you notice it, you can absorb the outlook and emotions of people around you. This includes negative and positive, so choose positive people when you can.

Positive self-talk can have lasting positive health benefits, however it’s a habit made over a lifetime.

If you tend to have negative self-talk and err on the side of pessimism, you can learn to adapt and change it. However if you find you’re not successful on your own, talk with a therapist or find professional help. Mental health experts can help you pinpoint sources of negative self-talk and learn to flip the switch.