Self-Talk Doesn't Have to Be Positive

It's not realistic to be 100% positive all the time.

Self-talk is the way that each one of us talks to ourselves. Most advice will tell you to stop talking to yourself negatively and start taking to yourself positively. If you think about self-talk on a scale though, it’s harder to change your self-talk from negative to completely positive. It’s easier to change your talk from negative to neutral. Has anyone ever told you that neutral self-talk is helpful, especially during performance? Well, I’m telling you now!

Neutral self-talk is helpful during performance because you don’t become overly confident with positive talk and you aren’t beating yourself up with negative talk. Being neutral can help you stay present and focused. It’s not realistic to be 100% positive all the time. So take some pressure off yourself and quit beating yourself up for not being positive. I hope this perspective makes changing your thoughts a little less intimidating.

"Negative Thoughts Are Normal. Don't Fight Them; Diffuse Them"
- Russ Harris

I love the way Russ Harris talks about negative thoughts in his book The Confidence Gap. “Negative thoughts are not inherently problematic. Negative thoughts only become problematic if we get caught up in them...

“When a thought hooks us we can:
1. Notice it.
▪️"If you pause for a second and notice what your mind is doing, that opens a little space between you and your thoughts, often enough for them to lose some of their influence over you...
2️. Name it.
▪"When we name the type of thoughts we’re having, that identity helps us to defuse from them. It’s more effective if you can do this with a sense of humor, as if you are smiling in recognition, giving yourself a knowing wink: ‘Aha. Just got hooked again!’ You can also use metaphors to name your thinking...
3️. Neutralize it.
▪️"I use the word neutralize to mean taking your thoughts and putting them into a new context, where you can see them clearly for what they are: nothing more then picture and words; nothing you need to fight with, cling to, or run from. You can do this in several different ways: silently singing your thoughts, hearing them in silly voices, visualize the though as a caption on a birthday card, or a slogan on a T-shirt...

“But what if my thoughts are true? In this approach, it’s not about whether our thoughts are true or false. It’s about whether they’re helpful.” Negative thoughts are going to happen. So use the ideas above as ways to help not overidentify with them. Remember you can use neutral self-talk!