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Wellness > Mental Health

Understanding and Practicing Positive Self-Talk

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

When I’m walking down the street, I’m often talking to myself in my head. It might sound odd, but everyone I pass is doing it too. Everyone has their own inner dialogue going almost all the time that’s explaining to them what they’re doing, reflecting on things they have done or thinking about future actions or possibilities. This dialogue has one of the biggest impacts on the mind, and a great deal of it ends up being negative. Why? Well, it’s simply because most of us have trained ourselves to think like this, making it default or second nature to us. However, I have recently realized that this dialogue is holding us back from reaching our full potential.

The other day I performed in a clarinet masterclass and honestly, I felt terrible about it. But out of everyone in the class, I was the only one that felt that way. My peers were all positive about it, reassuring me that it went well, even after I expressed my feelings and how bad I felt about myself. My friends refused to let me believe it was terrible and helped me see what I did well, instead of just what went wrong. Later that day, after reflecting on my performance, I realized what my peers were saying was true; I was just too focused on the negative to see it. And then it hit me! Why am I not talking to myself this way? Why do I just jump to the negative and make myself feel bad? Why am I not acting like my best friends and making myself feel good? All of these questions and concerns lead me think and learn more about positive self-talk.

Positive self-talk is looking at the good in situations, changing negative thoughts into positive ones and putting things into perspective. The funny thing is, I do this every single day for all my friends, except myself. I know I can do it, yet I am constantly reverting to the negative for myself. Yes, it’s okay to acknowledge the negative, but I have to learn to move on from it and think about the positives as well. I should be hyping myself up when I deserve it and feel good about myself. Recognizing the good things about myself and the things I’m doing is truly the only way to grow. Consistently putting myself down won’t motivate me to get better and improve. Rather, it’ll make me believe that everything I do will result in a negative outcome, because that’s all I see. In the end, if you know what you’re doing well at, you’ll want to keep working hard at those things and become better. Seeing improvement is how I’m motivated to keep going, and I know I can do it.

This is all a mental task. The mind is a very powerful thing and it believes whatever it’s told the most. So, if our mind hears the negative all the time, it’ll stay in that mindset. After doing some research and thinking about my own first steps to positive self-talk, I’ve come up with some key things to do in order to start changing my thinking. First, I started by recognizing what situations and activities caused me to talk more negatively to myself. For example, practicing music allowed me to be better prepared to implement self-talk in my everyday life. I could focus on what I wanted to work on in a practice session when I reminded myself about the good things that were happening, or when I turned the negative things into a good thought or lesson. Another good thing to try is to have some positive affirmations ready. This becomes super helpful when I’m talking negatively to myself. For example, if I can’t come up with something to counteract these negative thoughts quickly enough, I’ll already have something on hand. Once I have practiced this self-talk method more, I can start to come up with new statements as I need them, but for now, this is a great start. Finally, writing and journaling about this has helped me a lot. It keeps my thoughts organized, reinforces my positive thoughts and helps keep me accountable for adding this into my everyday routine.

Positive self-talk doesn’t correlate to bragging about yourself or thinking you are better than everyone else. Rather, it is to show yourself love and compassion, and motivate yourself to grow. You do it for others all the time, so why not for yourself? Go be your best friend. Do this for you!

Sydney Greenwood

Wilfrid Laurier '24

I'm Sydney and this is my first year as a writer for Her Campus at WLU. I am going to write about topics related to school/academics and mental health and wellbeing. I want other women to know that what they are feeling and going through is valid and that others' can relate. I want people to find comfort in my articles and know that they are not alone. I am in my fourth year of music, concentrating in music education. I'm also working on a history minor. Outside of school and Her Campus, I enjoy baking, arts & crafts and watching true crime documentaries. As well, I love learning new things, whether it's an instrument, a fun history fact or a new hobby.