If you ever find yourself being overly critical of your own actions, thoughts or feelings, that can be tough.
After all, we live in our own heads, so to speak, day in and day out -- so we should treat ourselves with some kindness and grace, as most people would probably agree.
But of course, that can be easier said than done.
And that’s why this idea of self-talk is so important.
Zak Rosen, who hosts the podcast “The Best Advice Show,” mentioned recently that a good handful of episodes have touched on this idea of positive self-talk.
We thought we’d highlight six episodes if you’re curious about the idea -- and each offers some seriously brilliant advice.
“The Best Advice Show,” by the way, offers advice on a range of topics, from cooking and food, to career goals, relationship tips and simple life hacks. Rosen describes the show as your daily gummy vitamin, that “will give you some nutrients.” Most episodes are about 2 minutes in length, offering you a quick listen during a busy day.
OK, back to that advice ...
1. This episode all about how our words matter.
“Our language and our self-talk definitely does matter, and it has an influence over our mental state and our emotions,” guest Steven Handel said.
Handel brought up a good point: A lot of people speak in exaggerated terms, and if you talk like that to yourself, or about yourself, especially in a negative way -- it’s going to affect your mentality, your perception and maybe even your reality.
For example, just be mindful over how you phrase things. Instead of, “I’m really, really bad at math,” let’s say, “I’m a little bad at math.” Or “sometimes I have difficulty with math.”
Using words like “sometimes,” “maybe” and “sort of” can help downplay these negative traits while still accepting and acknowledging them, but not exaggerating them, Handel said.
It’s a little way of catching yourself in the moment with those negative thoughts, and then reframing them. Here’s the full episode if you want to hear more:
2. This one about how to “curb the self s--- talk.”
“Saying it Out Loud” with guest Bethel Habte is so on point. She has a really great perspective: It can be challenging to quiet the negative self-talk altogether, so what if we took her suggestion?
“Sometimes I can’t silence the negative self-talk, so instead, I just say it all out loud, which lets me hear how ridiculous it is,” Habte said. “Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.”
In some instances, she’ll repeat something aloud, and she feels like, “That? No. I must be exaggerating.”
Habte said she’s NOT someone who can easily hype herself up, so this technique helps her to “engineer the self-hype.” There are definitely some similarities here to what Handel mentioned. Here’s the full episode if you want to hear more:
3. This episode asking an oh-so-important question.
Guest Kelly Travis checks in with herself, asking: “Is this thought useful? It doesn’t matter if it’s true. Is it useful?” We just love that.
She goes on to say, “The (internal) s--- talker is loud. The other voice in our head that’s encouraging and is a cheerleader and tells us to keep going is very quiet. The s--- talker is loud, and that’s the one we hear all the time, because it’s on auto-pilot. It’s the same stuff every day. Research shows us 85% of our thoughts are the same from the day before. And that question, ‘Is this thought useful?’ And being able to choose something else that will keep us going in a positive direction (is vital). So if I say to myself, ‘I’m such a s----- mom. I can’t do this. I suck at this.’ Is that thought useful? No. What can I think instead? ‘I’m doing the best I can right now. It’s messy. It’s chaotic, but I’m doing the best I can.’” Here’s the full episode if you want to hear more:
4. This one that packs a handy little trick you can keep in your back pocket.
Here’s a tool that guest Sarah May B. uses on a daily basis, and multiple times a day, at that.
“Expect the opposite,” she says.
It’s a way to manually reset your expectations, to open up room for something else to come forth, B told Rosen. For example, if you’re nervous about a contentious situation or a disagreement at work, and you’re gravitating toward all the negative thoughts, “They must think I’m so silly,” or “Everyone must be judging my work,” just take a deep breath and consider, “Maybe this will make things better.” You don’t have to fully believe it, but make room for that thought. By suggesting the possibility to yourself, it unlocks it.
“Once you realize your own role in the creation of your day-to-day experience, specifically, your expectations of the world and others and what’s going to happen, it’s like a magic trick,” B said. “Because you can alter it. I had no idea how much of my life I was actually creating just via what I expected to have happen.” Here’s the full episode if you want to hear more:
5. An episode about being your own best friend.
“Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your best friend,” guest Lauren says in this episode.
So, instead of saying, “I’m such an idiot. I’m so stupid for doing this” -- because, you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling your best friend that SHE’S an “idiot” for doing something like leaving her lunch at home, would you? -- you shouldn’t say that to yourself, either.
Treat yourself like a friend, Lauren told Rosen. Here’s the full episode if you want to hear more:
6. This one about developing a relationship with yourself.
Guest Chelsea Ursin will talk you through this one.
She often finds herself redirecting her thoughts, and said writing can really help. She has written letters to her younger self, and even served as a best friend or older sister figure for the person she used to be.
“I’m working on accepting ‘current me,’ but I found it easier to accept younger me,” Ursin said.
And even now, when she finds herself getting angry or anxious about something, she steps into that role as her own older sister, and starts penning the letter in her head.
It’s like, “This situation does stink, it’d make anyone anxious, but here’s what we’re going to do about it.” That helps, Ursin said, rather than going on a mental loop, like “This sucks this sucks this sucks.”
She splits herself into two selves, in a way, and sometimes even three: Her current self, past self and future self.
“Writing can change your reality -- the way you describe things, the way you see them in your conscious mind,” Ursin said. Here’s the full episode if you want to hear more:
What are you doing to curb your negative self-talk?
If you have any advice for the show, about this topic or ANY topic, call 844-935-BEST, and leave your name and your advice, followed by your email address in case Rosen has any follow-up questions.
“I’m not particularly interested in platitudes and truisms. I’m after specific, odd, uplifting, effective, real tips from you about how you make it through your days,” Rosen said. If you have any more questions, click or tap here.
The show is produced by Graham Media Group. It’s available for download or to subscribe to, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and wherever else you find your podcasts. New episodes come out Monday through Friday.