3 Types of Positive Self-Talk to Calm Your Mind and Perform Better

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As you are reading this blog, you are most probably engaging your inner voice. Can you hear it? 

That same inner voice creates a conversation with you by expressing thoughts, feelings, ideas, and questions. This is what we call self-talk, it is what we say to ourselves whether internally or out loud!

Self-talk, also titled our inner dialogue, greatly affects our emotions, moods, behaviors, and actions. Self-talk can be used to calm the mind before, during, and after a stressful situation in order to enhance performance.

To be able to calm the mind, one has to use positive self-talk. This is talking to your inner dialogue that motivates, encourages, and is self-compassionate. This can inspire self-confidence and self-esteem in many individuals to help create a positive outlook on themselves and previous outcomes. 

Positive self-talk can take many forms and it can be used for: 

  1. Instruction of the self : the inner voice guides our attention and thinking towards the technical aspects of the task at hand. (Ex. Picture 2)

  2. Motivation of the self: the inner voice encourages us to boost our self-confidence and self-esteem and to enhance our efforts. (Ex. Picture 2)

  3. Evaluation of the self: the inner voice looks at our positive attributes, strengths and what we have done well. (Example: “I am good at dribbling.” “I am proud of myself for giving it a try.” “I am strong enough to do weights.”)

Positive self-talk in all of its forms has been hypothesized to enhance performance through 4 different ways: 

Picture 2

Picture 2

  1. Refocusing attention: Using positive self-talk can direct one’s attention and focus on the task at hand while reducing distractions and negative thoughts, in turn reducing stress and enhancing performance.

  2. Increasing motivation: Through positive self-talk, athletes can reframe their stress/anxiety into  motivation. They can use this stress to fuel commitment and persistence in their work, making them less stressed and more confident about their abilities and strengths. 

  3. Skill learning: Instructional self-talk helps the learning of new skills and movement patterns in sport and learning new skills brings new informations, tactics and techniques which can equip the athlete with new coping skills during stressful situation

  4. Mood change: Self-talk can help us effectively manage stress by using it to reframe and restructure our thoughts into more positive ones, as well as by motivating us or by restoring some self-confidence with positive evaluations

As American singer and author Naomi Judd put it, “Your body hears everything your mind says” so the next time you have an inner dialogue, think about how you can make it positive and how you use it to calm your mind and enhance your performance!

Works Cited: 

Bruch, M., Meyer, V. and Chesser, E., 1987. The Role of Evaluative Self-Schemata in Self-Talk: Some Predictions and Explorations. Scandinavian Journal of Behaviour Therapy, 16(4), pp.149-166.

Gupta, P., 2021. Top quotes by Grammy award winner Naomi Judd on life, happiness, and healing. [online] YourStory.com. Available at: <https://yourstory.com/herstory/2021/03/quotes-grammy-award-winner-naomi-judd?utm_pageloadtype=scroll> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Hardy, J., Oliver, E. and Tof, D., 2021. A framework for the study and application of self-talk within sport. In: S. Mellalieu and S. Hanton, ed., Advances in applied sport psychol-ogy: A review, 1st ed. London: Routledge, pp.(pp. 37–74).

Mead, E., 2021. What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples). [online] PositivePsychology.com. Available at: <https://positivepsychology.com/positive-self-talk/> [Accessed 27 March 2021].

Oleś, P., Brinthaupt, T., Dier, R. and Polak, D., 2020. Types of Inner Dialogues and Functions of Self-Talk: Comparisons and Implications. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Rawlings, R., n.d. The Various Types of Positive Self-Talk. [online] Highbrow. Available at: <https://gohighbrow.com/the-various-types-of-positive-self-talk/> [Accessed 27 March 2021].

Tod, D., Hardy, J. and Oliver, E., 2011. Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 33(5), pp.666-687.

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