Master the ABC of empowering self talk

“I’m never going to make it!” – “I’m such an idiot!”. How do YOU talk to yourself? Do any of these examples seem familiar? And did you know that negative self-talk is not just a bad habit – it actually has an immediate destructive effect on your body! So if you want to improve your mood and your health then learn how to break the habit of negative self talk and start enjoying things a lot more. In this article and audio, we show you some simple steps to get started.

The ABC of empowering self-talk

1. Be Aware

2. Step on the Brakes

3. Change what you are saying

Step 1: Awareness – notice what you are saying to yourself

Prick up your inner ears and notice whenever you are using negative self-talk. Just be aware of what’s happening in your mind as you go about your day.

Step 2: Step on the Brakes

Once you have detected a negative comment, you will need to take Step 2. Anyone driving towards a red traffic light will automatically know what to do – hit the brakes in order to stop. And this is exactly what you need to do with negative self-talk: As soon as you are noticing it interrupt your negative thought process instantly. You can do that by for instance seeing a red traffic light, hearing your brakes squeal or even feeling how you are stepping onto the brakes and your car is slowing down. Use anything that tells your mind to stop automatically.

Step 3: Change your word(s)

So let’s assume that you have detected a situation in which you are using negative self-talk and have hit the brakes coming to a stop; now your mind is ready for new information, similar to a car idling in neutral, waiting at the lights. You can take the next and final step now, which is to replace the negative self-talk with the words you want to hear.

Ask yourself one or more of the following questions:

“What would I like to say to myself instead?”

“What would be most helpful for me in this situation?”

“What would I say to a close friend who was in my situation?”

Once you know what it is, say it to yourself just after you have hit the brakes – and notice the positive effect it has on you. Done properly, this will make a great difference to how you feel.

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To your lasting success and happiness,


Jan & Maree nWow! Counselling & Coaching