Author: St. Joseph and St. Mary’s Medical Centers – Carondolet Health System

When it comes to your health, you can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy. Changing “self talk,” (what you say and how you say it) can make or break your plan for self improvement.

A good first step in this mind game is awareness. Try to listen to what you’re saying to yourself. When you notice yourself being negative just say, “Stop”. Pay attention to the number of times in a day that you “Stop” yourself.

The next step is replacing the negative talk with positive talk. Instead of saying “I ate that candy! I’m so stupid! I will never get control of my eating.” Try another approach. “Why did I eat that? Was I bored stressed or what? I can learn from this and make a better choice next time.”

Just replacing “should” with “could” gives you control, and choices. Talk to yourself the same way you would talk with your best friend. Be kind to yourself.

Experts say our self talk can control our emotional state. It can influence your self-esteem, outlook and relationships. It takes time and practice, but we can change the way we talk to ourselves. Concentrate on your strengths. Changing our thoughts leads to changing our behaviors.