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5 Tips for Better Self-Talk

Become your own source of calm and encouragement

Illustration Credit: Take These Thoughts by Misty Mawn

Right now, you are probably getting an earful from your inner voice. You know, that little commentator in your head that is always chattering? It can either sound like the leader of the pep squad, bolstering your confidence, whispering instructions, and boosting performance; or the nagging mother-in-law sabotaging your success with negative comments and cutting criticism. Dozens of studies including recent experiments by Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, from the University of Thessaly, indicate that these inner monologues influence our behavior in both positive and negative ways. Here are five ways to alter your self-talk script and to use your inner voices to help make good on your goals, gain confidence, and perform better. 1. Listen Critically to Your Inner Critic In high-pressure situations self-talk is often relentless and critical, says Ethan Kross, PhD, the laboratory director of the Emotion & Self-Control Lab at the University of Michigan. Instead of thinking deliberately and logically, our inner voices are stoked by emotion, and that influences everything from how we talk to ourselves to our behav …

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