“Self-talk and your blue mood” is an interesting subject. Everyone has experienced a “blue mood” at some point in their lives. It’s that feeling of sadness, melancholy, or low energy that can show up seemingly out of nowhere. While there are many factors that can contribute to feeling down, one often overlooked aspect is the way we talk to ourselves, known as self-talk. Self-talk refers to the internal dialogue we have with ourselves, the thoughts and words we use to communicate with ourselves. It turns out self-talk can have a significant impact on our mood, particularly when we’re feeling blue.
Negative self-talk in particular, can be detrimental to our mental health. It can exacerbate a blue mood and make us feel worse. When we engage in negative self-talk, we reinforce negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, which can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem, helplessness and hopelessness. For example, if you’re feeling sad and you start telling yourself “I’m a failure,” “Nothing ever goes right for me,” or “I’ll never be happy,” you’re really feeding your blue mood and making it harder to shake it off.
Negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we repeatedly tell ourselves negative things, our minds begin to believe them, and our mood and behavior can reflect those beliefs. For example, if you continuously tell yourself you’re not good enough, you may begin to withdraw from activities you used to enjoy, avoid social interactions or procrastinate on tasks because you believe you will fail anyway. This can create a negative cycle where your blue mood deepens, and it becomes even harder to break free from it.
It’s not just negative self-talk that can impact our mood. Positive self-talk, on the other hand, can have a powerful and positive effect on our mental well-being. When we engage in positive self-talk, we reinforce positive thoughts and beliefs about ourselves which can help boost our self-esteem, motivation, and resilience. For example, if you’re feeling down and you start telling yourself, “I’m capable of overcoming this,” “I’ve faced challenges before and have come out stronger,” or “I deserve to be happy,” you’re essentially giving yourself a pep talk and providing yourself with the emotional support you need to lift your mood.
Positive self-talk can also help us reframe our perspective and challenge negative thoughts that contribute to our blue mood. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “I’m a failure,” you can counteract it with positive self-talk, such as “I may have made mistakes, but I’m not a failure. I can learn from this and do better next time.” This may help you gain a more balanced and realistic view of yourself and your circumstances, which can help you manage your blue mood more effectively.
So, if we are good at negative self-talk, how can we change and harness the power of self-talk to positively impact our mood when we’re feeling blue? Here are here are 10 practical tips on how to utilize self-talk to improve your mood when you’re feeling down:
Identify Negative Thoughts: The first step in changing your self-talk is to recognize when it is negative. This might include statements you tell yourself like, “I’m no good at this,” or “No one cares about me.” When you notice such thoughts, take a moment to acknowledge them without judgement.
Challenge Negative Thoughts: Don’t let these negative statements stand unopposed. Challenge them with questions like, “Is that really true?” or “Is there evidence that supports this?” This can help to break down your negative beliefs.
Change Negative to Positive: Once you’ve challenged a negative thought, replace it with a positive one. Instead of “I’m no good at this,” tell yourself, “I can learn and improve with practice.”
Use Positive Affirmations: Positive affirmations are statements of positivity you repeat to yourself. They can be general, like “I am strong and capable,” or specific, such as “I’m going to do a great job on this presentation tomorrow.”
Practice Mindfulness: Try to stay in the present moment, rather than dwelling on past failures or possible future problems. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings as they come, but don’t let them control you. Don’t allow your past to become your future by perpetuating negative self-talk and your blue mood.
Cultivate Gratitude: Even in tough times, there are always things to be grateful for even if they’re very small everyday things. Reflect on what you appreciate in your life. This can help to improve your mood and change your outlook.
Visualize Success: If you’re feeling down about a specific event or task, try visualizing it going well. Picture yourself achieving your goals and imagine how good it will feel. Practice and envision yourself succeeding.
Speak to Yourself as You Would a Friend: Too often, we are much harder on ourselves than we would ever be on others. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Try being aware of your self-talk when you’re being hard on yourself, and then play it back as if talking to your good friend. Would you really talk that way?
Take Care of Your Physical Health: Eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can all help to improve your mood and make positive self-talk easier. Your mind and body are connected, so your physical health can play a big role in your mental health.
Seek Professional Help if Needed: If your mood is persistently low and you’re struggling with negative self-talk, it may be helpful to speak to a mental health professional. They can provide strategies and support to help you manage your feelings.
Remember, changing the way you talk to yourself takes time and practice, so please be patient with yourself. Over time, positive self-talk can become a habit that significantly improves your mood and overall well-being. Pay attention to the thoughts and words you use when you’re feeling down. Are they mostly negative or positive? Are they realistic or distorted? Are you being kind and compassionate to yourself, or are you engaging in self-criticism? Becoming aware of your self-talk is the first step in taking control of it.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of creating a better mindset for yourself, please check out my training on how to do just that at Embrace Optimism. Learn how to improve your mindset and create a happier and more positive life for yourself and those around you.
P.S. My latest book is about achieving success when you set out to make changes in your health and includes a case study of a very successful client who set and achieved her own goal. This book is scheduled for release during June of 2023. In the meantime, please take a look at the other books I’ve written.
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