What is Self-Talk and How Does It Contribute to Your Anxiety?

Does it seem as if there’s a voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough?

Do you ever find yourself believing that everyone in the room has a negative opinion of you?Self-talk can be a weight keeping you down, especially if you struggle with anxiety. However, there are ways to change what you say about yourself, in your own head, so that it doesn’t contribute to your anxiety.

What is Self-Talk?

According to Dictionary.com, self-talk may be defined as: The act or practice of talking to oneself, either aloud or silently and mentally.”

Of course, there are also two ways that the way you talk to yourself may be interpreted:

The first is positive self-talk. This is when you say to yourself that you are capable of doing something, that “you’ve got this.” This can be reassuring and help boost your confidence.

The second type is negative self-talk. This has the exact opposite effect, contributing to your feeling down, depressed, or even anxious.

The Impact of Negative Self-Talk

If you are already struggling with anxiety it can be difficult to feel confident about yourself. Negative internal discussions can reinforce beliefs that you have about yourself or perceptions about others. For instance:

  • “I can’t do anything right.”
  • “That person has it out for me.”
  • “Nobody likes me.”
  • “I can’t be successful.”

The impact of this type of thinking leads to self-fulfilling prophecy. If you already believe that you are not capable of being successful, negative self-talk makes it even harder to accomplish anything. Or, if you say to yourself that no-one likes you, running yourself down internally makes it even more difficult to find satisfying relationships.

Negative Self-Talk and Anxiety

Unfortunately, anxiety only makes negative self-talk worse. This is because many symptoms of anxiety reinforce a negative outlook on life. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Feeling worried.
  • Experiencing a sense of doom or danger.
  • An inability to concentrate on anything other than your worries.
  • Wanting to avoid whatever makes you anxious.

Feeling uptight, worried, and tense adds to the tendency to speak poorly of yourself. It also reinforces a negative belief about life. Fortunately, there are ways to beat negative self-talk.

How to Beat Negative Self-Talk

The Mayo Clinic provides several tips for people who want to change internal conversations. Try the following:

  • Pause throughout your day to check whether you are thinking negatively. Choose to be more positive.
  • Ask yourself what aspects of your life could be more positive and then seek to make small changes towards that goal.
  • Laugh a little! Humor can be a great way to change one’s mood and outlook on life.
  • Stay healthy by eating nutritiously and getting plenty of exercise.
  • Stay positive with yourself.

You may also want to consider work with a therapist. A therapist can be a sounding board, providing an outside perspective.  Also, a therapist can coach you on more specific ways to create positive self-talk.

Creating Positive Self-Talk

Rather than going to a negative inner dialogue when you face a tough situation, try to be intentionally positive. Some ideas include:

  • Reminding yourself that “you can do this.”
  • Telling yourself that you do know what to do.
  • Keeping in mind that your negative self-talk is just thoughts, not reality.
  • Believing that you are capable.

Practicing positive self-talk when you are calm and not feeling anxious, can help prepare you for when you begin to experience anxiety. You will feel more prepared to utilize positive thinking and gain more practice as well.

Self-talk is a double-edged sword with anxiety. On one hand, it can be a positive reminder of your capabilities, competency, and ability to succeed. On the other hand, it can be debilitating and only add fuel to your anxiety. However, by recognizing negative thinking patterns, then taking steps to change that thinking, you can free yourself from your negative inner critic.

Questions, Concerns, Thoughts?
I invite you to call me for a free 15 – minute phone consultation to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about anxiety, treatment and my practice. Please visit my website @ www.theanxietydocseattle.com or call me directly @ (206) 745-4933.