Life can be unpredictable. It is filled with new opportunities, challenges and obstacles. It’s rarely right or wrong, so why do we talk to ourselves in absolutes?  

When we are presented with new situations, competing priorities and stress, it’s easy for us to focus on weaknesses or blanket the world in negativity.  

So, how do we become more aware of our self-talk and even change it?  

Self-talk can be positive or negative and noticing which way your self-talk leans, can allow you to make adjustments that will help you feel better and more grounded.  

  1. Reframe the situation. How we talk to ourselves often reflects how we view a certain situation, the world around us, and our place in it. So, if you find yourself leaning towards negative internal thoughts about a situation, reframe it.  
    • Take a step back, try asking yourself questions to distance yourself from the situation psychologically.  
      • For example, why is this upsetting you? What is really going on here for you? 

2. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a friend or loved one going through a hard time. You may have heard this advice before but it’s true! We are so hard on ourselves and so forgiving and accepting of others. If we can distance ourselves from the situation, we can start to treat ourselves like a friend or loved one.

  • If you want to support yourself and others try, Togetherall, a free, anonymous online mental health platform that’s monitored 24/7 by professionals.  

3. Write out your fears and physically throw them away.

  • While we don’t want to give enough attention to our fears to let them spiral, sometimes writing them down makes us realize they aren’t real and aren’t likely to happen! 
  • Once you’ve written down your worst-case scenarios, physically rip them up and throw them out! This can help clear your mind and feel better!  

4. Start with positive self-talk in one area of your life. If you’re not used to practicing positive self-talk regularly, that’s okay! I imagine all of these tips can feel overwhelming.

  • Try integrating positive self-talk into one area of your life. Start small, so this could be talking positively to yourself when you’re studying or in class. If you’re wanting to add more positivity and mindfulness into your routine, try TAO, a free mental health app filled with meditations, journaling exercises and a mindfulness library. 

Positive self-talk can help us feel more confident, increase our relationships with others and can help increase our physical health as well. When we treat ourselves and our minds with empathy and understanding, we focus on the whole picture, not just the negative aspects of a situation.  

If you’re hoping to increase your positive self-talk and want some additional support, try signing up for Success and Wellness Coaching or attend an online drop-in group with the Counseling Center. Wellness USF also offers online resources like Togetherall, a free, anonymous online mental health community, and TAO; a free mental health app filled with mindfulness resources.