The Power of Positive Self-Talk: For Adults and Kids

 In Colorado Spirit

This week’s post was written by Colorado Spirit Counselor, Ally Burdick.  Thank you Ally!

We were all taught growing up to be careful with our words and what we say to others. This advice can save us from hurting someone else’s feelings and crossing boundaries. Unfortunately, many of us often forget that these same manners also apply when we speak to ourselves.

Yes – we all talk to ourselves. All day, we have inner conversations inside our heads that can directly affect how we interact with the world and shape how we view ourselves. Adults often teach children to use nice words and speak kindly to one another, but it is also important for adults to practice positive self-talk as well. Hearing the kind words of others can positively impact our mood and energy levels throughout any given day, especially if it is coming from a supervisor, mentor, or trusted friend. Speaking to yourself with the same grace and kindness that you speak to others with can be just as impactful on your wellbeing.

Practicing and modeling positive self-talk has never been more helpful than these last few years.

Positive self-talk has many benefits. Mindfully being aware of the words you choose when talking to yourself can improve your confidence, self-esteem, and resiliency. Mightier.com notes that prioritizing optimism and encouraging growth are super effect ways to frame positive self-talk with kids. The article also touches on different examples you may have heard a child say in the past and includes a link to positive self-talk flashcards.

Ideally positive self-talk can be used in times of intense stress, or any time you are presented with a tough task or intense emotion. Part of positive self-talk is not just overloading your brain with positive thoughts but also dismissing and reframing any judgments that may come to mind.

Solutions for Resilience has collected a list of positive affirmations to help increase your positive self-talk and ways to reframe the negative comments we may make to ourselves. Some of these affirmations include:

  • “I can make mistakes and learn.”
  • “My needs and wants are important.”
  • “I can trust myself.”
  • “My challenges help me grow.”

Positive self-talk is a mobile and individual wellness practice. There are no tools, instruments, or other people required. Practicing gratitude can be one introductory way to begin incorporating positive self-talk. For more on gratitude, read the Colorado Spirit’s article that highlights the benefits of gratitude and easy ways to get started. You can actively practice positive self-talk out loud in the mirror before you start your day or quietly to yourself during your commute or at your desk. You can also pick some affirmations that you and your family can say together.

Changing our inner voice can take time. Lucky for us, positive self-talk can be a collaborative effort. The next time you catch someone criticizing themselves harshly, try offering a different perspective with a less judgmental tone and message. This will help to better recognize unhelpful thoughts and reframe them. With time and consistency, you will find your inner voice becoming kinder and more patient. We often forget that having a comforting and trustworthy support system starts with being our own #1 fan.

By modeling positive self-talk, kids can better recognize the power in their own voice and begin to practice positive self-talk naturally. Throughout every challenge we face, our inner voice will always be with us. Perspective on life can shift when you invest time in the mind, body, and soul alike. Having a powerful and encouraging inner voice will help you walk through life more comfortably and confidently. You may even surprise yourself at how amazing you can be.

If speaking to someone would help, please reach out.

AllHealth Network provides several supports:

  • To speak with someone in the Colorado Spirit Program about stress related to the pandemic, please call 720-707-6789 or visit our webpage at allhealthnetwork.org/Colorado-Spirit
  • For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call 303-730-8858. AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7. To learn more about what other community mental health centers are doing, please visit: https://www.cbhc.org/covid-19-info/

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-8255 (TALK) or text TALK to 38255.

Resource links

Psych Hub video on Positive Self-Talk

Colorado Spirit Blog Post on Reframing Our Thoughts to Have Positive Feelings 

Centervention Positive Self-Talk for Kids Activities

Colorado Spirit Tuesday Talk on How Gratitude Improves our Wellbeing 

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