How Self-Talk Affects Stress

How Self-Talk Affects Stress

Most people carry on a silent conversation with themselves during much of the day. These internal dialogues can actually direct your thoughts and behaviors. Understanding what self-talk is and how it affects you is the first step in learning how to rewrite your self-talk “script” and talk your way to a less stressful way of life.

Positive Or Negative ?

Self-talk is like a self-fulfilling prophecy- something you think about so much you actually make it come true. When your self-talk is positive-“Everything will work out;” “I know I can do the job;”—you are giving yourself permission to succeed, and chances are, you will. When your self-talk is negative—“I know I’ll have a lousy time;” “I’m not smart enough to be supervisor;”—you’re giving up on yourself and chances are you won’t even try to succeed. Often your self-talk reflects the values and behaviors you learned as a child, and the self-esteem you now have as an adult.

Thoughts And Behaviors

Self-talk can direct your thoughts and behaviors. If you think, “I know I can do the job,” you’ll be more willing to apply and have a better chance at success. If you say to yourself, “I’ll never get hired for that position,” you probably won’t even apply, guaranteeing that you won’t get the job.

Stress Response

Negative self-talk can cause or increase your distress, and can make effects such as headaches or stomach pain worse. Self-talk can also encourage you to behave in destructive ways which further stress your body. (No one cares, so why shouldn’t I have another drink?) Fortunately, positive self-talk can have the opposite effect, leading to lower stress levels.

How To Rewrite Your Script

Learn to listen to your own self-talk. Draw three columns on a sheet of paper. In the first column, write several things you would like to happen. “I’d like a new car.” “I’d like to loose 10 pounds.” Then close your eyes and listen to how you respond to each item. Write your self-talk in the second column: (Example: “We can’t afford it.” “I can do it, I’ve done it before.”) In the third column, write down a thought which is the opposite of the one in column two. Look over your list. If column two is more positive than column three, you’re already on your way to thinking positively. If column two is more negative, look at column three for a more helpful, healthier response. Practice choosing positive self-talk. You’ll feel happier, more confident, and less stressed.

Mentally Warming Up

Mentally Warming Up

Mentally Warming Up

by Dr. Bob DeGroot

If you were to engage in strenuous physical exercise with out first warming up, eventually you will hurt yourself.

If you continually engage in the mentally and emotionally strenuous activity of selling with out first warming up, you will eventually hurt yourself. Cynicism and burnout will soon be the consequence.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Just spend a few moments warming up each day before you hit the bricks or the phone or whatever it is you do to kick off another great victorious day.

Since we all talk to ourselves, we can use what we say to strengthen our resolve (or weaken it).

Use positive self-talk. Write positive, emotionally laden, goal directed selftalk statements that are continually in mind to help you stay focused. Select phrases related to goal setting that have particular meaning to you and use them daily.

Magnetize your thoughts with emotion and you will attract from others that which you seek. Plain, unemotional words do not influence the subconscious mind.

Self-talk goal statements that impact the subconscious mind can be developed from any positive affirmation or inspirational statement. Modify them slightly with the following steps.

Critical Steps:
1. Select or write positive statements in the “present” tense.
2. Visualize yourself successfully “in possession” of the benefits of the activity or goal you are setting out to accomplish.
3. Say your selftalk statements with determination and “emotionally laden emphasis.”

Here are some examples of Self-Talk Statements that I’ve collected and used over the years to keep me on the straight and narrow path to success. Some I made up and some came from other authors that I would gladly give credit to if I could remember who they were. Regardless, make your collection to keep you on the positive and productive side of life.

* I pay the price for achieving that which I desire (imagine current goal).
* Never risking failure means never getting the chance to succeed (feel success).
* I am only judged by the number of times I succeed, never by the number of times I fail (look at your ratios card).
* I do the most productive thing possible every moment of the day (envision your calendar with priorities identified).
* Continue to modify the following statements:
* My beliefs are my destiny, my desire is my power.
* With each step of action I take, I come closer to achieving my goal.
* I eat elephants one bite at a time.
* Success is reached with every step in my journey.
* Because I have the desire, I have the power.
* There is nothing capricious in nature and the implanting of a desire indicates that its gratification is in the constitution of the creature that feels it. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
* I expect to win, I expect victory, I give no thought to defeat. I am winning.
* I succeed beyond my wildest expectations because I dare to have wild expectations.
* I can achieve great things because I know what great things I want to achieve.
* I know where I am. I know where I am going. Therefore, I know how and when I will get there.
* I win because I get back on my feet after each knockdown.

And here’s one more from J. Douglas Edwards, “Do the most productive thing possible every moment of the day.” Just modify slightly to “I do the most…”

Please do these most productive things in each area of your life, “Personally” (Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, and Family) and “Professionally” (Finance, Education, Skills). Find a good balance.

If you’ve got a favorite, please let me know. I’ll add it to the growing list. And, don’t forget the last page of each issue of “Selling Power” magazine has several inspirational statements you can make into “self-talk” statements to support your own success.

Talking To Yourself: Relationships Community

Talking To Yourself: Relationships Community

Self-Therapy For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves

In old movies, if you wanted to show that someone was really “crazy” you’d show them talking to themselves. Even if they were only doing it mentally, in their own heads, it was supposed to be a sure sign of mental illness. What’s really bizarre about this is that the act of talking to ourselves is actually a sign that we are self-aware and that we seek insight into our own actions. It’s really a hallmark of being human and proof that we are a higher species.


We all have mental conversations with ourselves. Self-talk is so constant that meditation groups, relaxation tapes, and self-help books focus on just trying to get us to be able to stop all the self-talk for a few seconds of deep relaxation.

But in a sense, we CAN measure our degree of psychological pain by checking out our self-talk. It’s not whether we do it, it’s WHAT we say to ourselves that matters!


It would be wonderful if we only said well-thought-out, self-protective, self-loving things to ourselves. It would be wonderful, but it’s just not true for most of us most of the time a lot of self-talk is critical.

It’s as if our private mental world is occupied by a watchdog who is always anxious to point out our flaws. To a degree, this is self-protective. It “resets our automatic pilot” when it is veering too far off course. But one of the quickest and best ways to improve our lives is through changing negative self-talk.

How do we go about it?


1. Become Aware Of It.
2. Label Its Source.
3. Change It.
4. Notice How Different You Feel.
5. Decide Whether To Change It Further.
6. Don’t Think You Are Finished.


Journaling seems to be the most popular technique for becoming aware of your self-talk at the moment.

But whether you use a real journal or just try to notice what you say to yourself without a journal,


Sometimes these disagreements will be almost “auditory.” One side will say something and the other side will say “That’s not true,” etc. But ANY self-talk that makes you feel bad contains a “disagreement.” (The disagreement is between the self-talk and the part of us that doesn’t want to feel bad!).


All self-talk that makes you feel bad originally came from someone else! Learn to identify WHO SAID THIS ABOUT YOU in your past. And mentally “label” the negative self-talk with the name of the person you got it from.



Since parents have so much influence in our lives, much self-talk (both positive and negative) comes from them. It will help you a lot to use your parent’s first name – “Herman” or “Brenda” or whatever – instead of using “Dad” or “Mom” when you label these internal messages. (This will remind you that they were only “people” who were capable of making mistakes, not “gods” who could never be wrong.)


Simply change the thing you say to yourself into something that you’d like to believe that makes you feel better.


Try the new self-talk for a short time (anything from a few hours to a couple days or so). See how it feels, and learn how much of the new, kinder statement you actually believe.


Make a NEW DECISION about what you will say to yourself about this in the future.

Make it self-caring, self-protective, and something you honestly believe to be true.


You will be growing and changing all of your life. Updating your self-talk will always be necessary.

Even when you finally finish making new decisions about the really negative stuff there will still be the need to update self-talk based on the changes that life brings your way.


Good therapy also aims at well-thought-out, self-loving, and self-protective new decisions. When you follow the steps in this topic you are essentially becoming your own therapist. Do as much as you can on your own, but give your therapist a call if you run into painful things you can’t change on your own.