Thoughts run through our heads all the time during the day, and most people carry on a silent conversation with themselves. The silent conversation is called self-talk, and self-talk plus your thoughts have a direct effect on your actions. They influence the way you see yourself and your outlook, and are based on your self-esteem. Understanding the effect the way you think has on you can help you learn to maintain a positive and confident attitude.
Positive or negative thoughts
You’ve probably heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Self-talk and your thoughts are very much like that, something you think about so much can happen.
- When you think more positively, “Things will work out” or “I know I can do it,” you’re helping yourself become more successful.
- When you’re negative, “I know I’ll have a terrible time,” or “I’m not good enough to do this,” you’re giving up on yourself and your chances for success reduce.
Often your self-talk and thoughts reflect the values and behaviors you learned as a child, and the self-esteem you have today.
Thoughts and actions
Your thoughts guide your actions. For example, if you see a job opening and think, “I know I can do it,” you’ll be more willing to apply for it. During the interview, you’re able to show more confidence in your abilities and have a better chance at being successful. But if you think, “I’ll never get this position,” you may not even apply. Or if you do apply and get an interview, you most likely will go in with the attitude that you’re not going to get it, showing a lack of confidence and have less chance at success.
The physical and mental health effects
Negative thoughts can increase your stress and encourage you to act in ways that can damage your body. For example, drinking in excess when you’re feeling bad about yourself because you think no one else cares about you so why should you care what happens. Fortunately, positive thoughts can have the opposite effect, leading to a confident and optimistic attitude.
Rewrite your script
Start paying attention to your thoughts and self-talk. One way is to write down your automatic responses to an idea. Make three columns.
- In the first column, write some things you want to happen. “I’d like to try for a new job.” “I want to get a new car.”
- Next, close your eyes for a minute and focus on your thoughts.
- Write your thoughts in the second column. For example: “I’m not cut out to try something new so why bother.” “I shouldn’t have any trouble getting a loan for the car.”
- In the third column, put down a thought that is opposite of the one you wrote in column two.
Now look at your list. If column two is more optimistic than column three, you’re already thinking more positively. If column two is more negative, look at what you wrote in column three for a healthier response.
Practice thinking positive thoughts. It’s the first step in boosting your self-esteem and feeling more content.
Do you have any ideas to think more positively?