What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples)

Positive self-talkIt’s not uncommon for most of us to keep a running dialogue inside our heads.

This dialogue can range from giving ourselves instructions while we carry out a task, random observations about our environment or a situation, or it could be what is often referred to as self-talk.

Self-talk is the internal narrative you hold about yourself. It’s your inner voice and you may or may not have spent much time thinking about it or giving it any attention. The truth is, our self-talk can actually have a much bigger influence on the way we see ourselves, and the world around us than we realize.

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Self-Compassion Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will not only help you increase the compassion and kindness you show yourself but will also give you the tools to help your clients, students or employees show more compassion to themselves.

A Look at the Psychology

Self-talk is generally thought to be a mix of conscious and unconscious beliefs and biases that we hold about ourselves and the world generally. It was Sigmund Freud who first created the idea that we have both conscious and unconscious levels of thought, with unconscious cognitive processes influencing our behavior in ways we don’t realize (Cherry, 2019).

Self-talk can be positive or negative – and paying attention to which you most often sway towards, can help you start making proactive changes about how you take on life’s challenges.

Negative Self-Talk

Our patterns of self-talk are all too often negative – we focus on preconceived ideas that we’re ‘not good enough’ or ‘always a failure’ or ‘can’t do anything right’. Our brains are hardwired to remember negative experiences over positive ones, so we recall the times we didn’t quite get it right more than the times we do. We then replay these messages in our minds, fuelling negative feelings (Jantz, 2016).

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk, as you may have guessed, is the flip of negative self-talk. It’s not about narcissism, or deceiving ourselves into thinking things that are inaccurate. It’s more about showing yourself some self-compassion and understanding for who you are and what you’ve been through (Jantz, 2019).

Positive self-talk sees our internal narrative switching to ideas like ‘I can do better next time’ or ‘I choose to learn from my mistakes, not be held back by them’.

What Does the Research Say?

In terms of how impactful positive self-talk can be, the research unanimously agrees it’s quite a lot. From sports professionals to losing weight, to combatting depression: changing the way you talk to yourself can have a proactive roll-on effect in behavior changes.

  • Keizer, Smeets, and Dijkerman (2013) conducted a study where they asked patients with anorexia nervosa to walk through a doorway that became increasingly narrower. Participants with the disorder began to turn their bodies when the doorway was 40% wider than their shoulders, compared to participants who had no diagnosis, who only began to turn when the doorway was 25% wider than their shoulders. The researchers surmised that the negative self-talk the anorexic participants participated in had a dramatic effect on the way they viewed their bodies – making them believe they were larger than they actually were.
  • Conroy and Metzler (2004) explored the ways self-talk impacts cognitive anxiety in sports performance. They looked at state-specific self-talk, so the way athletes spoke to themselves while failing, while succeeding, while wishing for success, and while fearing failure. They measured these alongside expressions of situation-specific trait performance anxiety: fear of failure, fear of success and sport anxiety. They found the strongest results for self-talk associated with fear of failure and sports anxiety, essentially the athletes experienced higher anxiety when using negative self-talk.
  • Similarly, Kendall and Treadwell (2007) also explored the ways self-talk effects anxiety. They investigated self-talk as a predictor for anxiety in children with and without a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. They found that reducing negative self-talk mediated substantial treatment gains in the children with a diagnosis.
  • Wrisberg (1993) found that self-talk can help to improve learning performance, by assisting with the concept of ‘chunking’ complex information, which has been proven in aiding recall and carrying out complex tasks accurately.
  • Chopra (2012) found that providing students with effective strategies to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk enabled them to successfully transform their negative thought processes and the value of doing so in their lives.
  • Todd, Oliver, and Harvey (2011) carried out a review of the literature and research surrounding self-talk and unanimously found that positive self-talk interventions are effective in mediating cognitive and behavioral change.

The Importance and Benefits of Positive Self-Talk

Boost self-esteemAs the research suggests, positive self-talk is important for a number of reasons.

From helping to overcome body dysmorphia to sports performance, mediating anxiety and depression, to more effective learning: positive self-talk can make a world of difference.

Three additional benefits include:

1. Helps to Reduce Stress

Research has shown that people who are more inclined towards thinking optimistically, are also more inclined towards positive self-talk and utilize more active coping strategies when faced with stressful situations and challenges (Iwanaga, Yokoyama, and Seiwa, 2004).

Positive self-talk helps you reframe the way you look at stressful situations, understanding that you will approach challenges with the best of your ability and that whatever the outcome – you did the best you could. Tackling these situations with an ‘I can do this’ mindset rather than a negative ‘This is too hard’ one, opens up new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

2. Helps to Boost Confidence and Resilience

Approaching life with a positive self-talk approach can help to boost your self-confidence. Individuals who score highly for optimism and positive self-esteem are more likely to achieve their goals, score good grades and recover quickly from surgery (Lyubormisky, 2008).

Regular positive self-talk can help you to feel more confident in the face of achieving your goals, as you instill yourself with the belief that the things you want are achievable, and when problems do arise, you find workarounds.

3. Helps Build Better Relationships

You’re probably aware of what it feels like to be around someone who is positive, self-assured and content in who they are as a person. They exude confidence, and it reflects positively on those around them. Assad, Donnellan, and Conger (2012) found that couples who were more optimistic cited higher levels of cooperation and positive outcomes.

People who utilize positive self-talk are also extremely capable of picking up on the positive traits of those around them.

Is There any Evidence that Suggests it can Help with Anxiety and Depression?

The research seems to support the idea that positive self-talk can indeed help with disorders like anxiety and depression. This is mainly because negative self-talk has been widely linked with disorders such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, aggression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Leung and Poon, 2001, Owens and Chard, 2001).

Flipping self-talk to positive has also been shown to mediate some really great results with young people diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (Kendall and Treadwell, 2007).

What this tells us is that positive self-talk can help to overcome these disorders, by correcting the bias towards negative thoughts and beliefs we might hold about ourselves.

Can it Help Combat Stress?

In a nutshell, yes. As touched on briefly, one of the benefits of positive self-talk is that it can help you approach challenges and stressful situations with a more open and optimistic mindset (Iwanaga, Yokoyama, and Seiwa, 2004).

Positive self-talk isn’t about knowing all the answers or thinking you’re amazing, it’s simply about reframing how you view things, removing negative bias, and approaching life with the idea that you can tackle things – and even if it doesn’t go perfectly – you’ll learn from it for next time.

10 Examples of Positive Self-Talk Statements and Phrases

Self-esteem therapyIf positive self-talk seems like foreign territory to you, it might be difficult to know where to begin in terms of effective positive statements and phrases to try.

It’s important to know that not everyone’s positive self-talk will be the same, and you should try a few different approaches to find the ones that ultimately work for you.

Here are ten just to get you started:

  1. I have the power to change my mind.
  2. Attempting to do this took courage and I am proud of myself for trying.
  3. Even though it wasn’t the outcome I hoped for, I learned a lot about myself.
  4. I might still have a way to go, but I am proud of how far I have already come.
  5. I am capable and strong, I can get through this.
  6. Tomorrow is a chance to try again, with the lessons learned from today.
  7. I will give it my all to make this work.
  8. I can’t control what other people think, say or do. I can only control me.
  9. This is an opportunity for me to try something new.
  10. I can learn from this situation and grow as a person.

How to Use Positive Self-Talk: 4 Strategies and Techniques

Before you can begin to use positive self-talk, you first need to identify how often and what type of negative thinking/self-talk you engage in. Once you understand this, you can make a start on retraining your thoughts.

Negative self-talk tends to fall into one of four categories:

  1. Personalizing – Meaning you blame yourself when things go wrong.
  2. Polarizing – Meaning you see things only as good or bad, no gray areas or room for middle ground.
  3. Magnifying – Meaning you only focus on the bad or negative in every scenario and dismiss anything good or positive.
  4. Catastrophizing – Meaning you always expect the worst.

You might identify with only one of these categories or multiple. The point is once you start categorizing your thoughts like this, you can then begin to work on switching them for more positive frames.

This won’t happen overnight, and you’ll need to ensure you put in the practice to really hone in on your self-talk and identify where changes are needed.

Some strategies you might use to achieve this could include:

1. Identifying Self-Talk Traps

Some situations may cause us to indulge in more negative self-talk than others. For example, an introvert might find negative self-talk crops up when they have to attend social events or networking.

Identifying these traps can help you put in more preparation to address and switch your negative to positive self-talk.

2. Utilize Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are a great way to switch up our self-talk chatter. Before a situation even arises that might incite negative self-talk, practice saying positive affirmations in the mirror to encourage your positive approach to yourself.

Visual cues are also excellent reminders to adopt a more positive approach. Little notes, posters or post-its around the house with positive expressions can make a huge difference to your daily mindset.

3. Check-In With Your Emotions Regularly

Switching to positive self-talk takes effort. We’re so attuned to negative self-talk that it might only take one or two minor setbacks to put you back down that path.

When challenges do arise, make sure you check in with how you’re feeling and that your self-talk hasn’t gotten negative. Bring it back with some positive phrases.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Create Boundaries

Sometimes there are people in our lives who don’t bring out the best in us. Identifying self-talk traps might also mean identifying a person or two who encourages you to think negatively about yourself. It’s okay to create boundaries and remove these people.

Focus on surrounding yourself with people who talk positively about you, and encourage you to do the same.

3 Exercises and Activities for Adults

Once you have a better understanding of how prominent your negative self-talk might be, and the categories you use when indulging in self-talk, you can spend some more time working on developing your positive self-talk instead.

The below exercises are great for personal and individual use, or if you’re coaching a client or small group to practice their positive self-talk:

1. Listen, Learn and Think it Through Exercise

Step One: Listen

Keep a diary for a few days to a week and take it with you everywhere you go. Pay close attention to your self-talk and make a note of:

  • Is it mostly positive or negative?
  • What events, people or scenarios encourage positive versus negative self-talk?
  • What would a friend or loved one say if they knew you talked to yourself in this way?
  • Are there any common threads in your self-talk?

Step Two: Learn

At the end of the week, reflect on what you have written. Think about the following questions:

  • What thoughts come up most often?
  • Why do they come up?
  • How would you feel about yourself if you switched negative self-talk for positive?
  • How did negative self-talk hold you back from achieving your goals?
  • What might you achieve if you practiced more positive self-talk?

Step Three: Think it Through

To really move negative to positive self-talk, you need to think over why you had the thoughts in the first place and answer honestly about how true these thoughts are. A few questions to use for this final part of the exercise:

  • How big of a deal is this really? Might I be overreacting?
  • Are my thoughts and conclusions based on facts or opinions? Whose opinions?
  • Am I guessing at information and making assumptions?
  • How accurate is this thought really?

2. Time to Switch Gears Exercise

This is a great follow on exercise from Listen, Learn and Think it Through. Now that you know where your negative self-talk might be holding you back, and when it arises, you can look to ‘switch gears’ about how you talk to yourself.

This exercise involves taking the negative self-talk you use and reframing it with a positive self-talk alternative.

For example:

Negative Self-Talk: ‘I am such an idiot! I screwed up that project and there’s no coming back from that.’

Switch to

Positive Self-Talk: ‘I didn’t do as well as I know I can but that’s okay. Now I know what I can do next time to be better, and that will help my personal and professional growth.’

Negative Self-Talk: ‘This deadline is impossible, I’ll never be able to get the work done.’

Switch to

Positive Self-Talk: ‘This is a lot to accomplish, and I can only do what I can do. As long as I keep my colleagues/boss informed, I’m sure we can make this work.’

Negative Self-Talk: ‘What’s the point in going, everyone will see what an imposter I am.’

Switch to

Positive Self-Talk: ‘Meeting new people can be daunting but I’m a good person, with lots to offer.’

Keep practicing and rehearsing how you switch up your negative self-talk and over time you’ll find that positive self-talk begins to come more naturally to you.

3. How Accurate is This Exercise

When stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk, it can feel impossible to stop and consider the origin. It’s often a long-ingrained assumption we’ve embedded and taken on as part of our identity.

To help challenge the assumption and make the switch to positive self-talk, it’s important to stop and ask the question:

How accurate is this belief?

When negative self-talk arises, try to follow these steps and ask yourself:

  • Where does this belief come from?
  • Is the information this belief is based on fact or opinion?
  • Why do I believe this?
  • How accurate is it?

Next, reflect and list all the times, situations and examples you can think of that go against the negative belief or self-talk statement you have. Write down:

  • Every time someone thanked you for your help or good work
  • Every time you’ve felt good or confident about yourself – what was the situation?
  • Every time you’ve been successful, no matter how small.

This process will help you build a more accurate and balanced profile of who you really are. This isn’t about creating a biased profile of how amazing you are, simply more realistic – accepting at times you might have failed or got it wrong, but you’ve also got it right too.

3 Positive Self-Talk Activities for Students

Working with students to increase their positive self-talk is a great opportunity to set them up with strong resilience and a mindset that sees them persisting in achieving their goals. Below are three exercises that are simple and easy to do with students, either individually or with groups.

1. Positive Affirmations Mood Board Activity

Visual cues for positive self-talk can be a great way to help encourage young people to incorporate them more into their everyday life. A mood board is a great visual representation to remind young people of the positive affirmations and self-talk they should use.

You will need:

  • Selection of old magazines, newspapers or books that can be cut up
  • Selection of pens and pencils
  • Scissors and glue
  • Pinboards or old cardboard for sticking affirmations to

Step One

Ask students to go through the selection of magazines to pick out keywords, phrases or pictures that they feel best to represent positive emotions, experiences, and goals they have. Ask them to focus on the words that create these feelings.

Step Two

Using either the boards or cardboard, students can stick or pin their chosen words and photos in a style that suits them – use different pens too and ask them to get creative with something that speaks to them and makes them feel good.

Step Three

Once complete, students can keep the boards in a visual place in the home as a daily reminder. You could even ask them to pick three positive affirmations they like to repeat daily in front of their boards, to help inspire positive self-talk.

2. The Imaginary Best Friend Activity

This activity has a very simple premise. It encourages young people to think more deeply about the negative self-talk they engage in, and whether they would use it when referring to a friend, or if a friend would use it to refer to them.

Step One

You can use the Listen, Learn, Think it Through exercise to help students to begin to identify when they use negative self-talk, and what phrases/words they use to talk about themselves.

Step Two

Once they have their list, ask them to reflect on each negative self-talk phrase and ask the following questions:

  • Would a friend say or think this about me?
  • Would I say or think this about a friend?
  • What would a friend say about me instead?
  • What would I say to a friend who thought this about themselves?

The answers to these questions can formulate some new positive self-talk phrases.

Step Three

Ask students to keep these phrases written down, either on their phone or in a notebook, that they keep with them. When they start to use negative self-talk, remind them to refer to this exercise and the positive self-talk phrases they created instead.

3. Identifying Positive versus Negative Self Talk Activity

For younger students, it’s important to help them become familiar with what negative versus positive self-talk looks like. A simple card activity can help to begin identifying this, as well as giving them the resources to incorporate more positive self-talk.

You will need:

  • Colored paper or card cut into squares or a variety of shapes
  • Colored pens

Step One

Create some fun shapes or stick to squares and cut up the colored card or paper – aim for at least 10-15 pieces for each set of phrases (so 10 for negative phrases and 10 for positive phrases). On each piece, write out your chosen phrases.

Step Two

Mix up all the phrases together and then sit down with your student/s. Ask them to work through the cards and create two piles – one for negative self-talk and one for positive self-talk. Encourage them to reflect on each one as they go. Discussion points could include:

  • Do you ever use this phrase?
  • Why do you think this is positive/negative?
  • If this phrase is positive, what would the negative sound like (and vice versa)?

You could even ask them to create a third pile of cards for the phrases they are unsure of, and again encourage some discussion around this at the end to encourage their thinking.

A Positive Self-Talk Game

Using games, especially with young people, can be a great way to help get them engaged in the concept of positive self-talk.

A popular game is Negative Ned versus Positive Pat, which can be adapted for use with young people, teenagers, and adults. Here’s what it involves:

Number of players:

Minimum of 2, maximum of six, for ages 5 and up.

Game Materials Provided:

  • Two sets of game cards (One set Negative Ned and one set Positive Pat)
  • One set of scenario cards
  • Two tubes

Game Materials Needed:

  • Colored paper or card
  • Scissors and sellotape or glue

How to Play:

  • Cut out the phrases and glue them to the card. Shuffle the scenario cards and then shuffle the Negative Ned/Positive Pat cards together separately to create two piles of shuffled cards.
  • Decide who goes first and ask them to turn over one card from each deck – so one from the scenario deck and one from the Negative Ned/Positive Pat deck. The player reads out the scenario and depending on whether they have turned a Ned or Pat card will need to:
    • Provide an example of the self-talk that the card represents (negative or positive).
    • Explain how this type of self-talk would make them feel and respond to the scenario.
    • Then they must place the Ned or Pat card in the corresponding tube (so there should be a tube or place card on the table that represents Ned and Pat.
    • Continue around the group of players in this fashion.
  • In the Ned/Pat deck will also be ‘Pick a tube’ cards. If a player turns this card, they will need to pick a tube of accumulated cards, and depending on which they pick they must:
    • Describe the benefit of using positive self-talk.
    • Describe a consequence of using negative self-talk.
  • The player then keeps the cards from the tube they selected.
  • The game continues until all of the Ned/Pat cards have been gone through.
  • The winner is the player who has accumulated the most Ned or Pat cards at the end.

You can download a PDF of the game instructions, including printouts of the card decks needed.

5 Positive Self-Talk Worksheets (incl. PDF)

Worksheets are a fantastic resource if you’re in the process of coaching someone, or working with groups of students, to better understand how to utilize positive self-talk. Below are three excellent ones I came across in my research:

1. Self-Esteem Journal Worksheet

Positive self-talk has been linked with higher self-esteem. Journalling is a fantastic way to focus more on the positives in your everyday and life overall, but many people aren’t familiar with this as a resource for helping inspire behavioral changes.

This worksheet is a fantastic tool for those who are new to journaling and want to make sure they find the real value in doing it. It incorporates five tables of prompts to encourage you to think positively about different aspects of your day. These prompts include:

Table One:

  • I felt proud of myself today when I …
  • Today, I enjoyed …

Table Two:

  • My family admires me for my …
  • The highlight of my day was …

Table Three:

  • 3 unique things about me are …
  • One of my best attributes is …

Table Four:

  • I am excited about …
  • I am in my element when I …

Table Five:

  • My biggest success this week was …
  • 5 ways my life is awesome …

You can download the Self-Esteem Journal worksheet with all the table prompts.

2. Making it Happen Worksheet

This worksheet breaks down different situations and asks the participant to respond with an example of negative self-talk versus an example of positive self-talk. For example:

Situation Negative Self-Talk Positive Self-Talk
Having to speak to someone new They’ll think I’m weird and they won’t want to talk to me. I’m interesting and this person seems interesting too. Maybe I’ll make a new friend.

The worksheet has a list of pre-filled situations for participants to respond to, as well as space for writing in new situations that might be more specific and relevant to the individual or group that the worksheet is used with.

You can download this worksheet, together with the next three, from the Australian Government Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) website.

3. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained Worksheet

This worksheet focuses more on the idea that when we use too much negative self-talk, we actually hold ourselves back from reaching for and achieving our goals. It can also prevent us from trying new things and allowing ourselves to undertake the activities we think we might enjoy.

Here’s what the worksheet includes:

First, there is a set of warm-up statements to get participants thinking about what the ‘worst-case scenario’ might be if they tried something new. These include things like:

  • Learning pottery
  • Reading out loud
  • Trying a new hairstyle
  • Introducing yourself to a new person

It then asks participants to reflect on what the best-case scenario could be if they tried this situation (which ultimately creates a new positive self-talk phrase).

The worksheet then includes some space for participants to write out their own individual scenarios or situations they may have been avoiding due to self-talk, and to repeat the worst-case versus best case thinking.

See page three of the PDF to view the worksheet.

4. The Inner Voice

This handout provides a simple explanation as to how our inner voice dictates much of our success and ability to learn.

In particular, by programming our inner voice to speak to us positively, we can become more effective at mastering our environments and weathering storms that may arise as we go about our day-to-day lives.

Better yet, by shaping our inner voice into our ally, we can get one step closer to becoming an ideal version of ourselves.

See page five of the PDF to view the worksheet.

5. Being a ‘Yes’ Person

This worksheet illustrates the difference between various forms of self-talk as it dictates our intentions to take action.

For instance, in a situation where a person has a task to complete, their inner self-talk may take one of three forms:

Yes No I don’t know
Sounds good. I’ll give it a go. I’m hopeless. This is impossible. I’m not even going to try! I don’t know about that. Maybe I’ll wait and see.

By practicing saying ‘yes’ more often and being open to new possibilities, we can see problems as learning opportunities, retrain our minds, and program our inner voices for better living.

See page six of the PDF to view the worksheet.

Does Using Positive Self-Talk Guarantee a Positive Outcome?

While positive self-talk has definitely been linked to greater self-esteem, confidence, and resilience, research has yet to find a concrete link between positive self-talk and positive outcomes.

In their review of the research, Todd, Oliver, and Harvey (2011) found that positive self-talk has another component to it – motivational self-talk. This type of self-talk focuses more on preparing oneself to tackle challenges, and was commonly cited as a form of self-talk for athletes before a game or event.

Although they did find from their review that positive self-talk does help to inspire positive cognitive and behavioral changes, they couldn’t find any concrete evidence that negative self-talk led to negative outcomes too. So, it seems positive self-talk is definitely beneficial, but consistency and motivation could also be two key components for positive outcomes.

3 Books Worth reading

If after finishing this article you feel inspired to pursue some more resources and literature, I’ve listed some of the best books and videos I’ve found to help you on your way:

1. It’s The Way You Say It – Carol Fleming

It’s The Way You Say It

This book recognizes the importance of what you say for your own personal ideas about yourself, and for influencing those around us. The trouble is, most people aren’t aware of how they say things and how to change this.

Described as a ‘nuts and bolts’ guide to becoming more aware of your communication – for the self and others – this is a great book for exploring the concepts of self-talk.

Available from Amazon.

2. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self – Shad Helmstetter

What to Say When You Talk to Your Self

This internationally popular book will help you further explore how what you say to yourself matters, and how deeply it impacts your behavior.

Helmstetter breaks down what he refers to as the Five Levels of Self-Talk (Negative Acceptance, Recognition and Need to Change, Decision to Change, The Better You and Universal Affirmation) and guides you through how to work through them for profound changes in your life.

Available from Amazon.

3. Become Your #1 Fan: How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Live the Life of Your Dreams – Kathryn Orford

Become Your #1 Fan

This book promises to be the ultimate guide in helping you combat your inner critic and repetitive self-talk, and how to use positive self-talk to aid you in achieving the life you really want.

It includes a selection of tools and exercises to help you do this.

Available from Amazon.


3 TED Talk Videos

Brené Brown is a leader in this field, and we share video from her as well as two other important TED talks.

Brené Brown – Listening to shame

Guy Winch – Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid

Michael Shermer – The Pattern Behind Self-Deception

10 Quotes on the Topic

Loving or hating the life you are living is solely all in your repeated self-talk.

Edward Mbiaka

Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take its place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.

Beverly Engel

Positive self-talk is to emotional pain as pain pill is to physical pain.

Edmond Mbiaka

The way you choose to think and speak about yourself (to yourself and others), IS A CHOICE! You may have spent your whole life talking about yourself in a negative way, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue that path.

Miya Yamanouchi

Watch what you tell yourself, you’re likely to believe it.

Russ Kyle

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.

Brene Brown

You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.

Wayne Dyer

Be careful what you say about yourself because someone very important is listening. YOU.

John Assaraf

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better his world will be, and the better the world at large.


A Take-Home Message

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the importance and benefits of positive self-talk as much as I’ve enjoyed researching it.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s empathy and understanding that switching from pervasive negative self-talk to positive self-talk takes time. You might need to spend weeks or months working consistently and mindfully to correct the negative ways you think about yourself – and that’s totally fine.

Keep in mind all the positives that switching your thinking can bring, and keep that as your goal.

We hope you found this article interesting. Don’t forget to download our 3 Self Compassion Exercises for free.


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  • Lyubormisky, S. (2008). How Much Confidence and Optimism Is Good For World Leaders and How Much Is Too Much? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-happiness/200806/how-much-confidence-and-optimism-is-good-world-leaders-and-how-much-is-too
  • Owens, G. P., and Chard, K. M. (2001). Cognitive distortions among women reporting childhood sexual abuse. Retrieved from: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-14164-006
  • Tod, D., Oliver, E. J., and Hardy, J. (2011). Effects of Self Talk: A systematic review. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51704153_Effects_of_Self-Talk_A_Systematic_Review
  • Wrisberg, C.A. (1993). Levels of performance skill. In R.N. Singer, M. Murphy, & L.K. Tennant (Eds.), Handbook of research on sports psychology (pp. 61–71). New York: Macmillan.


What our readers think

  1. bmᵕ̈

    This is really good!! I love how thorough this is!! Thank you for your great work! <33

  2. Lydie

    Really great stuff! however, when trying to download the #1 and #3 full worksheet pdfs, the links were broken.

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Lydie,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention! We’ve now found a replacement link that features both of these worksheets, as well as two more. You can access a PDF containing them all here.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  3. Anna


    Thank you for posting this article with very useful information. I was wondering whether the activities are evidence based? Do you have references to the research articles?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Anna,

      If you scroll to the very end of the article, you will find a button that you can click to reveal the reference list.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  4. Honore S Prasad

    Thanks for this beautifully articulated and compact article. It also show cases as you have mentioned that you enjoyed working it so readers like us can enjoy and take value from it

  5. Jose

    They are useful tips for everyone, balanced, researched, helpful. It can be used for students and adults, that’s the beauty. Wonderful that you thought of something useful to research on.


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