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June 09, 2021
Five Ways in Which Positive Self-talk Habits Can Impact Your Self-care

In this episode, Dr. Peggie Kirkland (PK) delves into the impact that negative self-talk has on women.   According to PK,   your  internal dialogue frames the narrative messages that you tell yourselves over and over.  This narrative has the ability to change your mood and more significantly, can lead to depression and anxiety; the more you do it, the more it becomes embe…


Why is Positive Self-talk Important?

Did you know that how you talk to yourself is also a part of how you take care of yourself? Why is that?   It’s because self-talk takes place inside of us, and helps to frame the narrative that we tell ourselves repeatedly. It’s  our internal dialogue.  It’s the message that remains with us, and can resurface over and over again, changing our mood, and possibly leading to depression and anxiety  if the messages that we tell ourselves  are negative.  

The problem is that anything that we do over and over again becomes a habit. The good news is that there are practices that you can engage in to help move the needle from focusing on what’s negative to what’s positive, and there are also many great benefits that you can gain.  If you’re still not convinced, here are five reasons why you may want to reconsider making a conscious decision to go from having negative internal monologues to positive self- talk, and five ways in which you can make the change.

Five Benefits of Positive Self-talk 

  1. To reduce stress. People who engage in negative self talk tend to be more stressed about accomplishing their goals.
  2. To reduce thinking that limits you.  Since we believe what we tell ourselves over and over, if we keep telling ourselves we can’t do something, we won’t.
  3. To reduce the  need for perfectionism because we can start to feel like ‘great’ isn’t good enough. We want to be perfect, and that can definitely impact our health.
  4. To help with stress management. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, optimism and positive thinking tend to go hand in hand and that is a key part of managing stress effectively.
  5. Positive self-talk can impact how you perform.  Athletes and performers engage in creative visualization, seeing the outcome they want and making that their focus instead of their fears or anxieties.

How to Use Positive Self-talk to Form New  Habits 

  1. The first thing to do is to be self-aware. Do you often find yourself saying negative things to yourself?  Take note of that by writing your thoughts down as you go through the day. You may need to do what mental health experts call thought stopping, which is a technique where you literally tell yourself “Stop” when you recognize that you’re saying negative things in your mind.
  2. Block out time for self-care. Be intentional about adopting self-care habits that you can enjoy on a regular basis so you can avoid burnout, increase productivity  and enjoy your life.

         Kudos to four time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka for withdrawing from the French            Open to take care of her mental health.  That was an audacious act of self-care. 

  1. Fill your tribe with positive people so that you don’t absorb the energy of negative people and make it your own.  
  2. Start a compliment folder where you make note of compliments that you receive whether it is in emails, notes, thank you cards, and other things that make you smile.  
  3. Practice repeating positive affirmations. But don’t just say them mindlessly.  Say them like you mean what you’re saying  and that you believe it. 
  4. Humor is like a big dose of medicine.  When you have a hearty laugh, you stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles and you release endorphins which are a natural mood booster.  
  5. Take self-limiting statements and turn them into questions. For example, instead of telling yourself that you won’t handle something like an interview competently, ask yourself, “What would I need to do to make this interview a success?” 
  6. Remove clutter whether it’s from your closet, your refrigerator, or your garage because clutter can drain you physically and mentally.  
  7. Commit to one selfish act of self-care every day. What an investment to make in yourself! Remember it isn’t selfish to make yourself a priority.  

The reality is that you won’t become an eternal optimist overnight, if you’ve spend a large portion of your time in the negative zone, but with awareness and practice, you can move from self-talk that is filled with self-criticism to self talk of more self-acceptance which would give you a more positive outlook on life.  

Today’s Homework:

Set aside 5-7 days to monitor the kinds of conservations you have with yourself.  Check in with yourself every couple of hours to ask yourself:  

  • What have I said to myself in the last couple of hours?  
  • Was I being critical of myself or was I being kind to myself? 
  •  Did I use language that  was destructive to myself, e.g. “You're such an idiot for saying/doing that” or did I use language that helped me to recognize and acknowledge that I have the ability to change course and improve on my shortcomings? 
  • Am I overreacting to the situation and increasing my negative feelings? 
  • Am I reacting based on how I feel others will react?

Your answers to these questions will let you know if it’s time to pivot away from this type of negative internal dialogue to more positive inner conversations. Do this for at least five days, and watch how aware you become of the occasions when you are talking negatively to yourself, so you can start to take control of your thoughts, and get more enjoyment from life.

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy:

And don't forget to grab your FREE Affirmation eCards to shift your mindset, raise your self-esteem and boost your self-confidence.   Choose one or two that resonate with you, and make a habit of repeating them several times throughout the day, especially when you wake up in the morning, and at night before you go to bed. As you use them, observe the effect they have on you: 

  • Do they make you feel more loving toward yourself and more confident? 
  • Do they increase your belief in your abilities?  
  • Do they make it easier for you to take life in stride? 

Try to be aware of how your mind and body react to your practice of repeating affirmations.  Be consistent with this practice and you’ll see the difference over time. Just click the link! FREE Affirmation eCards.

 Connect with PK:

Website: https://www.mommasmotivationalmessages.com
Twitter: 
https://wwwtwitter.com/.momsmotivations
Instagram: 
https://www.instagram.com/momsmotivations
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/mommotivates

 

Transcript

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

0:11

Inspiring Gen X women to demonstrate their self-love through audacious acts of self-care. This is the Momma's Motivational Messages podcast with Dr. Peggie Kirkland.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

0:25

Hi, everyone. It's Peggie Kirkland. P.K. as my daughter likes to call me when she's trying to be cute. Listen, did you know that how you talk to yourself is also a part of how you take care of yourself? I want you to think about that for a moment.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

0:43

What kind of conversation did you have with yourself when you woke up this morning? Did you wake up and stretch and think to yourself, what a wonderful blessing it is to be alive? What a wonderful thing it is to know that your body is working, even if not at 100%, but that all your limbs are functioning in a way that allows you to move around and to get things done. Did you give a little blessing to the fact that you slept all night, and woke up on this brand new day, no matter how it looks outside the window, whether there's torrential rain, whether there's snow, whether you're getting a heat wave at the start of the day because all of that makes a difference in how you're going to program your mood for the day? Or did you wake up and think to yourself, when you looked in the mirror, you thought, "Hmm, I don't like the way I look," or did you have some sort of grumpiness and start complaining about the day ahead, setting up all kinds of negative barriers, doing your own body shaming, if you will, not waiting for somebody else to do it; but doing it to yourself. You know, as you think about the fact that you no longer fit into last summer's clothes. And you're starting to think, oh, my goodness, you're never going to shed the Q-5 or Q-10 or Q-20. The "Q" being "quarantine." All those are negative messages that you're starting your day out with. You're sending those messages to your brain; you're having that internal dialogue with yourself, and that is framing the narrative for what your day is going to look like because as you say it, more and more over, and over again, it's getting programmed into your brain. And that kind of talk is a real mood changer.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

2:56

Think about it for a moment, you ever have a day that's going really well, and suddenly you encounter someone who is negative, and who everything that they share with you either has a negative beginning, a negative middle, or a negative end, or all of the above. Sort of like when you have to deal with government agencies, and you're getting the runaround, and you just can't figure out what else to do. All of those are mood changers, they can change your your mood, from being positive, and happy and light to being very dark and very heavy, and make you really moody and make you not want to really engage in things that would uplift and inspire you to do the things that you really need to do. And those kinds of negative messages, they remain with us. And they can come up over and over again. And they can have a real negative effect on your mental health and can lead to depression and anxiety.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

4:14

The truth is that negative self talk is a habit that we form; we're not born that way. That's a habit that we form. And like anything that we do over and over again, it becomes embedded in our subconscious. And so, we really have to make a conscious decision to move away from that, that way of behaving, that way of thinking, that way of acting with ourselves. And I'm going to give you some reasons why you may want to consider making that move from having those negative internal monologues to having some positive self talk.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

5:01

Let's look at some reasons why you might want to make that switch. For one thing, making that switch is going to start reducing the stress that you feel each and every day. Because people who engage in that kind of negative self talk, they tend to be more stressed because they're using so much energy, focusing in on the negative things that are happening in their lives, and the ways in which they're unable to accomplish what they're what they want to accomplish, instead of trying to find ways in which they can move forward, that it produces a lot of stress. And stress tends to lead to more stress. And it's a cycle that just goes on and on, unless you stop it. Another reason why you might want to move from negative to positive self talk is to reduce the thinking that limits us. Because whatever we tell ourselves over and over again, is, like I said before, it becomes embedded in our subconscious. And whatever we tell ourselves, we can't do, guess what, we won't do.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

5:25

A third reason to make that move from negative to positive, is because you want to reduce the need for perfectionism because we can start to feel like great just isn't good enough. We want to be perfect, and that can definitely impact our health. And I talked about this, in the episode, called Honor Roll Hangover where I talked about this need for perfectionism, and how it really sets us up for failure, and not success, and really puts barriers in front of us, and makes it feel like we just cannot accomplish what we want to accomplish.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

7:08

A fourth reason to move from negative to positive self-talk is to help with stress management. The Mayo Clinic says that optimism and positive thinking tend to go hand in hand, and that is a key part of managing your stress effectively, when you're able to pair being optimistic and being positive. Those two really energize you; they put a whole new spin on things. So instead of seeing what's negative about a situation, you're able to look at that same situation and find the positive; it's kind of like is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? And I'm sure that I'm not the only person who knows several people for whom the glass is always half- empty. It doesn't matter what the situation; it doesn't matter what time of day, what month of the year, what season, the glass is always half-empty. And let me tell you, you can really stand to make an enemy. If you try to fill someone who is determined to have their glass half-empty. If you try to fill that up, you're going to run into some real problems because this is how they choose to live. This is how they're happy, believe it or not. And really and truly, you need to leave that alone and focus on your own glass that is half full.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

8:48

And finally, positive self-talk can really impact how you perform. Let's say for example, as an athlete or a performer, and you you always have these anxieties, and these tensions around that performance. If you keep telling yourself that you won't perform well, or that you can't win that race. Guess what? Where do you think the majority of your energy is being channeled? It's being channeled into a negative lane. And that's exactly what's going to happen. Athletes and performers will tell you that they engage in creative visualization; they see what they want to accomplish. They picture themselves, the athlete pictures himself or herself at the finish line first. That performer thinks about hitting that right note without a single strain or struggle, and they even hear the applause of the audience for a job well done. That is really programming yourself for success with positive thoughts and positive self talk.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

10:08

So I've said a lot about the problem. And I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't present a problem without first thinking about the solution. And so I'd like to give you some ways in which you can shift from that habit of negative self-talk to positive self-talk. So, the first thing you want to do is to become self-aware. You have to be able to own up to the fact that you do engage in negative self-talk because there isn't a single person on the planet who has not, at some point, said to themselves, "I can't do it; I won't do it; I won't be successful." We've all been there at some point in our lives. So it's important then to take note of those kinds of conversations. And one way in which you can do that is really by just writing down your thoughts as you go through the day.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

11:14

So take some time during the day to take stock of what you're actually saying to yourself. And this is really going to require some focus on your part. When you have those thoughts, write it down. Make two columns, negative self-talk, and positive self- talk. And when you hear yourself as you become aware, you can actually pick it up when it happens. Write it down. If you just said to yourself, "I'm never going to be able to make that meeting on time. I'm always late." Make note of that. If you say to yourself, "Oh, here it is, another day when I'm cheating on my diet and it's not a cheat day." Make note of that. What that's going to do over time is to allow you to see what your patterns are. And then do what mental health experts recommend. Do some thought stopping. And that is a technique where you literally tell yourself, "Stop." Once you recognize that rabbit hole that you're going down, tell yourself, "Stop" and wait and then reprogram, reframe what you said. Instead of saying, "I'm always late," tell yourself that you're going to make a concerted effort to be on time, by doing the following things: you're going to set a timer, and you're going to set it way ahead of the time that you need to leave. And when that timer goes off, you're going to be ready to leave, and you're going to move forward, and you will get to your event or your meeting on time. Okay, so what you're doing there, as I said before, is stopping that negative thought and replacing it with a positive act.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

13:23

The second thing that you could do is to block out some time for self-care. And when I say block out, I don't just mean get up and take a walk or get into a nice hot bubble bath. No, what I'm talking about here is being intentional about adopting self-care habits that you can enjoy on a regular basis. And that means that you're actually putting it on your calendar. You're not waiting for happenstance, for you know, to take place. You're saying on this day, at this time, or every day around this time these are the self-care habits that I'm going to adopt for myself, so that I can avoid burnout, and I can increase the productivity in my life and enjoy my life. And I have to say at this time, kudos to four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka for withdrawing from the French Open to take care of her mental health. That was an audacious act of self- care. And she's receiving a lot of flack for it, a lot of criticism, but you have to know as an individual when you need to prioritize your health, or just risk losing it all together.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

14:55

Another thing that you can do is to fill your tribe with positive people, so that you don't have yourself absorbing the energy of negative people. Surround yourself with people who you know, lift you up; people who, you know, make deposits into your positive reserves. You know, the ones that I'm talking about versus the ones who are energy- drainers. You want to stay away from those.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

15:29

Another way in which you could shift from negative to positive self-care is to start a compliment folder. And this is a folder in which you make note of compliments that you receive. And that might feel a little strange at first, but think about it, how wonderful it would be at the moment where, where you might not be feeling 100%, to really look at emails and notes, and thank you cards, and other things that make you smile, especially when you're someone who provides support to others, to really take that time to absorb what people are giving back to you. Because you know what happens, when you're someone who's upbeat, and who is optimistic, and always providing support to others, people often don't realize that you too, need to have some of that, coming back to you, in order to, as I said, keep your reserves full. It's like, you can't go to the bank and constantly make withdrawals without making deposits, right.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

16:38

Here's a fifth way in which you could get into that zone of positive self-care, and that is by practicing, repeating positive affirmations. And if you go back, you'll see the episode in which I provided you with 20 affirmations of self-love, which was really well received and many people were so happy. I got a lot of positive responses to those affirmations. So take a look at those again. But when it comes to affirmations, you can't just repeat them mindlessly, you have to really, as we like to say sometimes, put your back into it. You know what I mean? Say them like you mean it. Say them, like you really believe what you're saying; like you're truly invested. Again, remember, what you're doing is programming your subconscious, and what we focus on, and what we believe, that tends to be what ends up happening. There's an expression that says, if your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it. So keep that in mind.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

17:57

Here's a sixth positive self-care habit that you can form, and that is turning to humor. You know, they say humor is like a big dose of medicine. And that's not a lie. Think about it, when you're laughing at yourself, or it's something funny, don't you feel what it does to you? When you're laughing and those tears are streaming down your face, you're actually stimulating your heart, and you're stimulating your lungs, and you're stimulating those muscles in your body and you're just releasing endorphins. And you know, endorphins are a natural mood booster. And so, it's no wonder they say laughter is the best medicine because you're starting to heal yourself internally, as you laugh. So don't omit laughter from your regimen of positive self-talk.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

18:56

Next, I'm going to ask you to please please, please take self-limiting statements off the menu. Take them off. Turn them into questions. So, instead of telling yourself, “You can't handle this, or you can't do this,” ask yourself instead, "What would I need to make this particular thing successful?" This thing that right now is weighing me down and seems so negative and it's changing my mood and making me feel like I can't move forward. "What would I have to do to make this happen?"  Let's say for example, you have an interview to go to, and you're thinking, "Oh my God, we've been at home for so long, I feel like I've lost some of my social skills. I feel like I don't even think I can perform in a face-to-face interview anymore.”  Stop that and ask yourself, "So what would I need to do if I'm going to make this interview successful?”  You might want to start with your appearance because when we look good, we tend to feel good. And then you might want to do some homework, do some of that legwork that you need to do, so to speak, by getting all of your ducks in a row and researching the company and making sure that your skills are in order, so that you can ace the interview. Move from negative limiting thoughts to what is positive, and what's going to help you to move forward.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

20:35

Oh, and here's our favorite. Remove clutter. Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy. I think we all can relate to this. This whole thing about clutter, about having way too much in our lives. We have way too much of everything. Am I right? I know I am because I know I suffer from this as well. Remove clutter, whether it's from your closet, whether it's from the refrigerator, or my favorite, the garage, the garage, because what clutter does really is that it drains you physically and mentally because every time you look at it, you get upset about not being able to have the space that you need to breathe, and to do what you want to do. And you get upset because you think that every time you start, you never finish. Or listen, I think we've all been through trying to clear out those drawers, and instead of actually letting go of stuff, we fold them neatly and put them back in. Listen, ladies, if it no longer serves you or makes you happy, then allow someone else the pleasure of using it. I know sometimes it's so hard to get rid of things that we love because we think about how much we spent on getting it, we look at it and we think it's in great condition. But if it's no longer serving you, you need to let someone else enjoy it. You don't have to put it in the trash, where it will go to waste. But you can certainly donate it so someone else will enjoy it. Let it go with love.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

22:26

And then I'm gonna say one final thing, commit to one selfish act every day. That's whether you take some time to read your favorite book, or to write a letter, or write that poem or write that screenplay or whatever it is, you've been thinking about writing. Ignore social media, and phone calls that don't serve you in that particular moment. Or just take some time to meditate, or lie in the outdoors and count the birds and count the planes that fly overhead. Or just lie there, let your mind go blank and do absolutely nothing. These are acts of self-care. And if you remember, from one of our earlier episodes, it is not selfish to take care of yourself. You might want to go back and check that episode out again because what you're doing when you're taking care of yourself ladies, is sending a message to yourself that you're important; that you're making yourself a priority. Isn't that an awesome investment to make? I think so. Look, I realize that we can't go from being negative to positive and become that eternal optimist overnight. We can't move the meter from negative to positive in one act. But what we can do is to become more aware, and to practice these habits of moving from negative self-talk to positive self-talk. As we get away from all of that self-critical talk, the criticism where we tell ourselves all the things that we can't do or can't be, or can't have and become more self-accepting. That's what's going to give us a more positive outlook on life, and it's going to move our meter of self-care into that positive zone that allows you to enjoy a much healthier lifestyle because the more optimistic you are, the healthier your lifestyle will become.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

24:57

So you know that for a topic as important as this, I can't let you go without having some homework, right? You know that, and I know you love it. So here's what I want you to do. I want you to take a few days, let's say, five to seven days. And I want you to monitor the kinds of conversations you're having with yourself.  Set a timer to check in with yourself every couple of hours, and ask yourself, "What have I said to myself in the last two to three hours?  Can I think of one critical thing that I said to myself? Was I being kind to myself completely?" Either way, make note of it, like I said before, make those two columns. Label them “Negative self-talk and  Positive self-talk.”  Ask yourself, "What kind of language did I use when I was talking to myself?" Did I say things like, "You're such an idiot" after I got off the phone on a business call that didn't go as well as I intended? Or did I use the kind of language that would help me to acknowledge that the conversation didn't go the way I anticipated, but guess what? I have the ability to change course, and to make the next conversation better than the last. In other words, I can improve my shortcomings, and I'm going to continue to grow in these areas. That's all. Now, as you watch that list of negative thoughts grow, and it will, I want you to ask yourself, "Why am I giving myself negative labels like, idiot, stupid, I can't do anything right?" Another question I want you to ask yourself is, "When I look at this situation, am I overreacting? How much of an impact is this situation really going to have on my life?"

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

27:07

Here's the third question, “Are my thoughts based on my opinions and my experience, or are they based on facts?” That makes a difference. You know, our opinions and things we've experienced can color our perceptions, and they can be totally different from what the facts are. So you need to be able to differentiate between opinions, experience and facts. And then another question I want you to ask is, "Am I reacting based on how I feel others will react, or am I behaving in a way that says, “Oh, this is how they're going to behave, so I'm going to behave in accordance with that feeling?" And when you look at the answers to these questions, it's going to let you know whether you need to pivot and move away from this type of negative internal dialogue to a more positive inner conversation, and one that's going to help you to reduce your stress, depression, anxiety, to a more healthy life. I'd like you to do this for about five days, and watch how aware you become of the occasions when you're talking negatively to yourself, and then I want you to really to stop that thinking and start taking control of your thoughts. In other words, I want you to start to interrogate your thoughts. Don't let your thoughts get the better of you. And I guarantee it's not going to be easy at first, and if you're someone who enjoys living in that negative zone because it gets you attention from other people, then you're going to have a real uphill battle. But if you sincerely want to get away from this method of existence, and to get into a more positive state, where you're supporting and affirming your self-worth, then you have to listen to yourself and make the necessary changes, especially if you recognize that the things that you're saying to yourself are not the things that you would say to a dear friend, or to anyone you truly cared about. And aren't you your own dear friend, and someone you should be caring deeply about? Please hit me up on Instagram and let me know how you're managing your negative self-talk assignment. How are you replacing those negative statements about yourself with statements that support and encourage you, and affirm your ability to grow and develop, knowing that you can do better today than you did yesterday.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

30:10

Did you enjoy today's episode? If so, why not leave a rating and a review.  it's only going to take you about two minutes, and it's really going to provide me with valuable insight as to what's resonating with you. So I'm going to thank you in advance for doing that. I'd really appreciate it. And of course, please check the show notes to find the links to extra articles and resources on this topic.

Dr. Peggie Kirkland

30:39

All right, please open your arms wide to receive all the light and love I'm sending to you. We need more love in the world. So embrace it, and hold it close to your heart. Till next time.