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456 – Building Positive Self Talk for Confidence and Self-Esteem

CEUs are available for this presentation at AllCEUs

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director: AllCEUs Counselor Education
Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast
– Identify the function of negative self talk
– Explain the benefits of positive self talk
– Describe 15 methods for teaching positive self talk to people of all ages
Function of Negative Self Talk
– Protection from threats and failure
– I can't do this.
– I'm not smart enough to…
– I cannot find a decent partner
– Nobody wants to be my friend
– I am ugly
– I could lost my job at any moment
– Attention (See UFD Game…)
Ugly, Fat and Dumb Game
– The ugly, fat, and dumb game is a method of attaining attention by the individual in any given group whom needs the most attention (not necessarily the individual with the lowest self-esteem).
– An individual draws attention to their own (perceived or real) flaws in order to get others to announce their own in an attempt to make the first person feel better and subsequently, lowering their own self-esteem

– For example:
– While eating dinner, Sally announces her weight to the table and calls herself fat causing all the other girls at the table (who nearly all clearly weigh more) to announce their weight in an attempt to make Sally feel better about herself.
– If someone at the table isn't of lower weight, they find another deprecating thing to say about themselves- “But you are so pretty. I would kill to have your hair. Mine is like a rats nest.”

Benefits of Positive Self Talk
– Reduced cortisol and HPA-Axis activation
– Reduced pain
– Improved physical health (Less stress-related disease)
– Increased energy
– Greater life satisfaction
– Improved immunity
Unconditional Positive Regard
– From attachment figures who teach positive talk
– From self
– Encourage the use of the phrase
– “I love you even if…”

Self Awareness
– Who you are
– I have the ability to… (things you do)
– I am… (inner qualities)
– Keep a daily journal or account of your successes, good qualities and accomplishments
– What you say to yourself
– Journaling

– Don't wait until you are stressed. Practice positive self talk throughout the day-Every day (Positive Thinking Apps)
– Mantras
– I am capable.
– I am lovable.
– Today is going to be an awesome day.
– I choose to be present in all that I do.
– I feel energetic and alive.
– I can achieve my goals.
– I love challenges and what I learn from overcoming them.
– I've got this

– Visualization helps people's brains “see” how they can succeed (or fail)
– Negative self talk “teaches” the brain that negative things will happen which increases anxiety and distress, reduces concentration and increases a sense of helplessness.
– Positive self-talk helps people's brains “see” that
– Success is possible
– Happiness is possible
– The person has power

– Visualizations combined with desensitization help reduce anxiety and distress around…
– Public speaking
– Tryouts or job interviews
– Driving
– Starting a new school/job
– Taking a test
– …
– Have people watch others who are successful and/or role play then use that data to visualize.
– Surround yourself with positivity
– Parents model positivity
– Listen to positive songs

– Have family members bring a positive quote or song (lyrics) with them to dinner once a week and put it on the fridge.
– Give yourself a pep talk every morning.
– Keep a success wall/scrapbook

– When you take things personally you are often assuming you have control over how other people feel or react or the way things happen.
– Sally didn't text me today. She must be mad at me.
– I didn't get that job/role/position they must have hated me.
– I don't know what I did, but Dad was in an awful mood all day today.
– Encourage people to
– Look for 3 alternate (nonpersonal) explanations
– Examine the facts. Did it have anything to do with you-

– Expecting the worst
– Encourage people to
– Evaluate probability
– Make a plan B
– Examples
– If I ask him out, he will laugh in my face
– I am sure I am going to bomb that audition/try out
– There is no way I can win this election/promotion
– Any day now I could lose my job then be homeless
– I have a pain in my side, so it must be cancer

– Focusing on the negative aspects of an event
– Change the negative to a neutral, a positive or a challenge
– I can't run today because I sprained my ankle
– I guess I get a recovery day since my ankle is sprained
– What else could I do for cardio that doesn't put weight on my ankle
– Jake said no when I asked him out. I am mortified
– I can ask someone else out
– He will never know what he is missing out on. I have a lot to offer.
– I didn't get that job
– There are better things in store for me
– There is probably a different job that is a better fit
Self-Other Comparisons
– Coming to the understanding that it is likely there will always be someone other there better than you are at some things is vital to mental health
– Focus on being the best person you can be that day, and better than the day before.
– What do you do well-
– What did you do well yesterday-
– What could you do better on today-
Global Statements
– Global negative statements generally start with
– I am…
– I must…
– Focus on your language.
– How different does it feel to say
– “I am stupid” vs. “I am stupid at math.”
– “I am ugly” vs. “I look bad in this outfit”
– “I am useless” vs. “I am not sure how I contribute to this situation”
– “I must be the best” vs. “I must be the best that I can be”
Locus of Control
– Too internal means you try to control EVERYTHING
– Identify parts of the situation you did NOT have control over
– I should be able to achieve anything I try to do
– It is my fault that my mother got sick
– To external means you feel you have NO control
– Identify parts of the situation you had control over
– I only did well because of luck
– It was bad luck that I fumbled the pass
– Just my luck the teacher collected homework today
– I got demoted because my boss has it in for me
– Instead of saying I can't, say I won't or I choose not to.
– Focus on the present and improving the next moment

Minimization of the Positive
– Too often people focus on what went wrong or what they don't have. (evaluations, money, relationships)
– Encourage people to
– Spend 10 minutes each day focusing on what went right
– Find the silver lining in the bad
– Remember all the other things that are okay, even when one thing goes awry.
All or Nothing Thinking
– These self statements usually contain the words always, never, every, nobody, etc.
– Encourage people to
– Look for exceptions and what is different
– I will never be happy again
– I am always depressed
– Find ways to remedy the issue
– Nobody ever calls me to go out on the weekend
– I never can seem to lose weight

Emotional Reasoning
– I feel scared to give a speech, therefore it must be something scary.
– I am scared to start driving, so it must be dangerous.
– I am angry that people are always mean and rude.
– Encourage people to
– Find 3 alternate explanations
– Evaluate the facts of the situation
– Check for all or nothing thinking
– See if they are confusing high and low probability events
Fear of Failure / Inner Critic
– This voice heckles people from the back of their mind telling them they are inadequate or incapable.
– Encourage people to change self limiting statements to challenging questions
– I'll never get this!
– How can I get this- (Where there's a will there's a way)
– You know if you try that you are just going to fail.
– I want to try, so how can I increase my chances of success-
– I failed but what can I learn from this experience to become better or stronger-
– Do you really think that you, of all people, will get that job-
– Why should I, of all people, get that job/lead role/position-

For Kids
– Put positive notes in their coats, lunch boxes etc.
– Give them kudos (or even stars) for being the best that they can be.
– Keep a good things jar for each person in the family. Each time they do something well or helpful they get to put a penny in the jar.
– Reinforces that even if they do not succeed, if they did the best that they could do there will be benefits
– Positive self talk helps you feel empowered and good about being the best you that you can be.
– Feelings of empowerment reduce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and can protect against depression, anxiety and a host of stress related illnesses.
– Positive self-talk does not mean ignoring the negative it means
– Embracing the good with the bad
– Learning to evaluate situations objectively
– Seeing failure (or the potential for failure) as a learning opportunity
– Fully recognizing your strengths and capabilities