I talk an awful lot about self-talk, so I thought I would do a post going back to basics on what self-talk actually is.
Self-talk is your internal dialogue. It’s influenced by your subconscious mind, and it reveals your thoughts, beliefs, questions, and ideas. Self-talk can be both negative and positive. It can be encouraging, and it can be distressing. There is a school of thought that states that much of your self-talk depends on your personality. I disagree. Your self-talk much like your personality depends on your core beliefs about yourself and the world around you.
It can also depend on your goals, what you want to achieve, and how much effort you’ve put into achieving it. Some common self-talk includes: “I’m not good enough”. These words are often used by people who have low confidence in themselves.
This negative type of self-talk not only hurts the person’s chances of success but also further erodes that confidence. Other common self-talk includes: “I can do it”, which is often used by people who have higher levels of confidence and goals. This positive type of self-talk will help a person reach their goals faster than negative types of self-talk.
In the field of sport psychology , researchers in the 1990s discovered that how anathlete talks to him or herself can either make or break a game. In order for an athlete to perform well, they must overcome mental barriers such as “pressure” and “fear”. Self-talk helps athletes achieve this. For example, when Olympic swimmer Dara Torres swam the 100-meter freestyle , she recorded that herself-talk went as follows: “Brain on fire, legs awake, you are fast, fluid and relaxed. Let it flow through you. It’s going to be a great day.”
Self-talk is used in other types of sports as well and can help the athlete focus on positive thoughts while competing against another person or a clock. However, self-talk isn’t just used in sports. It can be used in all aspects of our lives.
It’s not enough to just talk to ourselves to benefit from positive self talk however. According to statistical data and research on self-talk it is actually more effective when it’s written than said aloud.
In a study titled The “Self-Talk” Technique Effectiveness as Measured by Cognitive Processing in the Randomized Control Trial, scientists discovered that students who wrote their goals down and then said them aloud once a day achieved significantly better grades than those who did not use self-talk. Also, the students who used self-talk had a higher overall GPA than the other group of students.
In addition, in a study titled The Relative Effectiveness of Three Methods for Using Self-Talk to Reduce Acute Perceived Stress , scientists discovered that elementary school teachers who wrote their stressors on cards and then said them aloud in front of a mirror reported less stress than those teachers who did not use self-talk.
Self-talk is very effective in almost everything. Even if someone has a “bad” self-image, they can use their words to help them reach higher levels of success. Self-talk is powerful and should be used frequently. When you say something aloud, it is multiplied by 1000% for the content of information going into your mind. If you don’t believe it then try this: when enacting a positive self-talk statement into your life, say it aloud. Read the sentence out loud. That’s called vocalization and that will increase the impact of positive self-talk by about 1000%.