Research shows that positive thinking — specifically a thought pattern called “self-talk” — is linked to higher confidence, lower stress, better coping skills, and even a reduced risk of heart disease.

Most of us are conditioned to think negatively about ourselves under the guise of “motivation,” but negative self-talk actually has the opposite effect. It increases stress levels, compromises our ability to cope with change, and puts us at risk for certain illnesses. When you catch yourself thinking negatively about your progress, make a conscious effort to replace negative phrases with positive ones:

Stop saying: "I can't do this as well as other people." Say instead: "I am doing the best I can, and that is what matters."

All people have different skills and capabilities, and it is natural that we will not excel at everything. Chances are, you are talented in ways that others are not.  Your best efforts are exactly that: your best. Let that be enough.

Stop saying: "Once I've achieved this, I will be happy." Say instead: "I choose to be happy now. My happiness is not dependent on my situation or my accomplishments."

Years from now, when you’ve accomplished whatever it is that you postponed happiness for, you may find happiness hard to come by. Being happy is a lifelong process, not something you can develop out of the blue. Choose now to embrace your life as it is.

Stop saying: "My health can wait until everything else is in order." Say instead: "My health comes first. No matter how small, I will take steps to be healthier."

The longer you wait to prioritize your health, the more difficult it will be to become healthy. Steps as small as making breakfast in the morning or taking an evening walk before bedtime will make a big difference in the long run.

Stop saying: "Taking time for myself is selfish." Say instead: "Taking time for myself allows me to help others."

When you try to help others without first caring for your own well-being, you are like an engine running with no fuel: nothing is accomplished and you hurt yourself in the process. Take whatever time you need to “fuel up” before reaching out to other people, and both you and others will benefit. Positive self-talk is most beneficial when combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine. In the event of mental illness such as clinical depression, positive self-talk may not be sufficient or even possible. In these cases, individuals may find that a mental health professional is best qualified to guide them. How do you replace negativity with positive thinking? What motivates you? Tell us in the comments below!
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