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The Difference Between Positive and Negative Self-Talk

So many thoughts run through our minds every day. We don't notice many of them, but we often engage in mental dialogues with our inner voice. We talk to ourselves mentally. Our self-talk can be positive or negative, and which one you let dominate your mind can affect you in many ways.

Positive self-talk is, of course, the best form to develop. It's not dismissing the negative facts, but it helps us to focus on the good that could happen instead.

Negative self-talk, meanwhile, is when you focus on the bad side of what's happening or when you fear for the worst to come. You tend to interpret and anticipate things negatively.

Negative self-talk can have detrimental effects on you, while positive self-talk can bring beneficial changes in your life. Here's an illustration of the differences between positive and negative self-talk:


Do you tell yourself that you're hopeless? Not good enough? A failure? Clumsy? That's negative self-talk. Every time you make a mistake, you dwell on it too much, and you lose your will to try again. It undermines your confidence.

When you shift to positive self-talk, you tell yourself, "It's okay; you did your best for now. Get up and try again. You know you can do better!" When you think positively, you can see the lesson in every failure or setback, and it will give you the push to do better and be continually confident.


Negative self-talk can trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that cause stress, despondency, and lethargy. These can lead to feelings of sadness and low energy, and you probably know that stress is one major contributor to chronic diseases.

Positive self-talk, on the other hand, can have positive health benefits. For one, it helps you manage your stress better, stay happy, and cope with challenges that invariably come your way. Positive self-talk can increase your lifespan, boost your mental and physical health, reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses, and bolster your immune system.

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Problems are a natural part of life. In almost everything that we do, we encounter many different challenges. Some are easy to handle; some require significant effort and physical and mental strength to overcome. When you engage in negative self-talk, it weighs you down. You feel overwhelmed, and that blocks you from coming up with sound solutions to your problems.

Alternatively, when your self-talk is positive, it gives you energy and clears your mind. Because your mind is targeted at finding the good thing that will come out of the challenge, you can think of the best way to handle the situations. You don't let a mistake or misstep stop you; instead, you navigate through and past it.


When your self-talk is full of negative words, it will feel impossible to do anything good or to expect great things to happen to you. You are depressed and full of self-doubt. Negative self-talk can drain your motivation and make you procrastinate and less productive.

However, when you allow your inner voice to be encouraging, you are energized. It increases your motivation, so you work harder than ever. Positive self-talk helps you push through, no matter how tough it is.


Your self-talk can also contribute to how you succeed in life. If you are full of negative self-talk, the chances are that you have a pretty hard time getting things done or achieving your goals. Negative self-talk makes you focus on what you haven't done yet instead of what you have achieved so far.

If you are filled with positive self-talk, you celebrate every milestone you make. You may not be where you want to be yet, but you remain motivated because you see how much progress you've made so far. Positive self-talk also keeps you open to new opportunities and makes you more resilient. It doesn't matter how long it takes you because you are enjoying and learning from the journey.

Self-talk greatly determines how life will pan out for you. Negative self-talk leads to pessimism and holds you back from doing and achieving great things. Negativity is very limiting. On the other hand, positive self-talk can make everything seem possible, not to mention that you become happier and healthier.

If you've been feeling down and stressed, check what you allow your inner voice to tell you constantly. Be mindful of your thoughts and emotions, and consciously make efforts to stir them toward positivity. Being optimistic doesn't mean disregarding the bad things – it's about seeing things in a different and better light.

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