Securing healthy habits is key to physical and mental health.
Most everyone has messages that play again and again in their minds. Sadly some of those messages are not so positive. Consequently, taking time to recognize and intentionally replace negative patterns of self-talk with positive perspectives can be very beneficial for mental health.
Positive self-talk can take many different forms – it can be as simple as thanking yourself for practicing a coping skill or making a positive decision.
An example of this might be thinking or saying, “I did a great job practicing deep breathing when I got that difficult phone call at work today,” or “I chose to eat breakfast this morning because I am devoted to improving my health.”
Notice in these examples, there is no use of the words “can’t, won’t or shouldn’t.” While these words can have good intent, such as “I won’t skip my workout today,” they are not actually good examples of positive self-talk and can sound quite punitive.
Reframing the words with positive intent, such as “I am going to the gym after work today as a part of my wellness plan,” allows one to take ownership with determination, rather than as just having one more thing that can contribute to a negative head space if skipped.
Another great way to practice positive self-talk is to come up with a short saying or specific words that resonate with you. Consider the words of a mentor, a positive quote from a movie or even a lyric from a song that gives you a boost.
A simple one that I often find myself using is “you got this.” I say this to myself before presentations and interviews. Sometimes all it takes is a little self-reminder that you are indeed good enough and can handle what life brings your way.
I sometimes hear clients say positive self-talk seems “too easy” to actually work. I reply with a question: “How often do you really practice it?” It might seem easy and, at times, silly, but our words are powerful. Affirmations allow our brains to be “re-routed” toward more positive thinking and can even improve our relationships with others.
In sum, positive self-talk is a way to take better care of one’s mental health, and we could all use being a little nicer to ourselves.
You got this.
If you need more
While considering how to improve your lifestyle, self-talk is a tremendous self-care activity, but remember elevated mental health challenges require guidance from a trained professional. For example, if you experience sadness for an extended period you may be experiencing depression and should consider talking to a professional.
At Community Reach Center, a leading Denver mental health clinic, we are always prepared to help. Visit communityreachcenter.org or call us at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday for more information about services. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.
This blog was written by Jenna Bogan, LPC, LAC, Program Manager of CRC’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care in Westminster. She is also a Community Reach Center featured Ask A Therapist columnist.