Skip to Content

Published on October 27, 2020

people on bench holding talk bubbles

It’s the Story You Tell Yourself  

Self-talk is the story you tell yourself. 

What is the story you are telling yourself about your lifestyle, your health, your relationships, your job and/or your finances? 

What words do you use?  Are they positive, hopeful?  Or are they negative and defeating?

How you talk to yourself has an impact on your energy, attitude, relationships and your ability to achieve your goals. 

How you talk to yourself is often learned from and reinforced by family members, friends, peers and media.  The good news is that because it is a learned behavior it can be “unlearned.” 

Negative self-talk can evolve into a coping style which is self-defeating.  Negative self-talk can “justify” where you are vs impact change.  For example, if what you tell yourself is; “I’ve always been overweight.  I’m just big boned” the idea of a bigger portion, a cookie vs a piece of fruit or Netflix vs a walk “fits” into your self-talk and your image.  If however, your self-talk is, “I’m making choices to improve my health and increase my energy , practicing portion control, choosing fruit over a cookie and a walk vs channel surfing reinforce the image of what you are trying to create. 

For some, the negative self-talk remains a “thought” for others thoughts are expressed in conversation.  The goal of changing this behavior, needs to start with addressing the thought and then saying the new phrase. 

First, ask yourself the following questions;

  • Does this thought energize or deplete me?
  • Is what I am telling myself going to promote growth?
  • Does the statement promote a negative or positive self-image?
  • Where have I heard the statement before?
  • Is the thought “true” or an exaggeration? 

Second, change the language/words of the thought into a statement that promotes positive change.

  • From excuses to responsibility
  • From “I can’t.”  to “I can.”
  • From perfection to progress

Once you have rephrased your statement, practice, practice, practice saying the statement. 

Identify 2 character strengths you have and remind yourself of them when you find yourself being negative.

Show as much compassion to yourself in your self-talk as you would to a friend, colleague or a family member when talking to them.

In time and with effort the “story you tell yourself” will be the story you live.  Make it good! 

By Diane Thovson, Health Coach, Well Being

Subscribe to our

wellness e-newsletter

Moving Health Forward

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

© 2022 Avera Health, Sioux Falls, SD. All Rights Reserved.