By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service.
Positive Self-Talk is a great tool for personal growth as well as for overcoming mood disorders. Positive Self-Talk can take the form of affirmations, internal dialogue or prayer. You can choose the method that works best for you.
The use of affirmations became very popular in the 1980s with the help of “You Can Heal Your Life,” by author and publisher Louise L. Hay (whom I had the pleasure of meeting some years ago).
Affirmations are short statements about how you want to improve or are improving yourself. A well-used one is “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better!” This one has been around forever, but there are millions more like “I enjoy perfect health,” or “I am overcoming my fears.” You can make up your own.
Repeating these statements many times throughout the day will change the way you think and feel. Yes, it works and, no, you cannot just say affirmations and expect your life to get better, unless you take the actions that are necessary to accomplish your goals.
Another method of Positive Self-Talk is to have a conversation with yourself about your behavior. For example, if you’ve been avoiding things as a means of self-protection, you can tell yourself that you no longer need to protect yourself the way you’ve been doing and that you are safe in the world that you have created. You can remind yourself that you are now in control of your life. You are not a victim, and you have the strength to deal with any situation, even if it causes you some anxiety.
This kind of internal dialogue can serve to make you stronger, help you be more of the person you want to be, and give you greater confidence. The more you do it, the better you will feel. I’m not suggesting that every thought be focused on your own personal growth, but rather that you take some time, every day, to give yourself a good talking to. The effects are pretty quick and last as long as you continue the process.
Another positive internal dialogue is simply telling yourself that you are and have been more than okay over the long term and that whatever is vexing you at the moment will pass. Many times we get upset at temporary situations and don’t look at how we have prevailed in the past. When you recall what you have had to overcome, it will give you the power to believe in yourself again and get over your current hurtle.
Many people use the power of prayer to help them overcome their difficulties. Studies have shown that people who are ill and pray or have people pray for them actually do heal faster. You don’t have to be religious or to attend a place of worship to pray. You can simply talk to the god of your own understanding and get some spiritual support in this way. By praying, you are also talking to yourself and telling your subconscious what it is that you need.
Using Positive Self-Talk on a daily basis is something I could never do without.
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Regardless of what method you use, focusing on the positive is better than focusing on all the negative stuff that has happened to you or may be going on in the world.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)