Finding Happiness - How to control your Self Talk to Change your Life

Copyright © 2016 Sonia Sylart

Your inner "chatter" or self-talk is all important   and you can help yourself to more happiness in life by being increasingly conscious of the way you converse with yourself. 


Read on for practical and doable steps you can take to counter and diminish negative self talk.

Happiness and the influence of self talk
Happiness and the influence of self talk

Preparing for Happiness

Finding Happiness Regardless
Finding Happiness Regardless

The ways we habitually think and talk to ourselves can be termed self talk and affirmations and the key to changing our outlook and attitude to allow ourselves to be happier is, you guessed it, to change the way we think and talk to ourselves. 




How often do you think or say things like


  • Oh I always get it wrong
  • I'm such a useless parent
  • I'm never gonna get over my breakup
  • It's not fair - everyone's better than me
  • I just can't cope with this
  • Why am I such a fool?
  • She'll never forgive me
  • What's the point in even trying
  • No one ever helps me


To achieve more serenity and to be happier, it is necessary to replace habitual, automatic self pity and negative thought patterns with more constructive thoughts. Life’s never completely black and white so try to catch yourself when negative thoughts occur and turn those thoughts around.  For example when the thought “I’ll never succeed at this” pops into your head you need to straightaway counter it with “No, actually I’m up for this challenge” or "No, actually I can get through this."

Predictive Thinking works both ways

It is often said that we are what we think we are and if we believe we cannot achieve something it is highly likely that we will not achieve.  Thankfully the reverse is also valid.  If you believe you can do something in all probability you will do it.  For better or worse, typically our thoughts become self fulfilling prophesies since your deeds are dictated by your thoughts. 

Switching those Negative Thoughts around to help you Feel Happier


Another simple example of how to develop a more positive attitude about one’s looks is standing before a mirror and focusing on your best attributes such as healthy skin, lustrous eyelashes, shapely ankles, an elegant neck or a winning smile instead of routinely agonising and stressing about how unattractive a particular feature is.


“My nose is crooked and I look awful” can become “I have expressive eyes and I love my shapely lips”


So do yourself a favour.  Don’t allow looking in the mirror to become a ritual of fault finding as that’s a sure-fire recipe for continued dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Search for the positives instead  - they are there you know.


Here's another one


         "My legs are too short"


As soon at that thought pops into your head, counter it with "but they get me from a to b without pain or hindrance" or "my legs are firm and strong".   For goodness sake just remember you do actually have legs and stop bringing yourself down with unhelpful negative affirmations.



Of course it’s fine to check the mirror and take pride in your appearance, but routinely or overly dwelling on perceived or real flaws is not the thing to do if you aspire to be happier. Instead, counter the fault finding by using positive self talk and affirmations so you can much more easily achieve self acceptance and climb the ladder to inner happiness.


Now, because principles in the above instances can be applied to other areas of life just stop for a moment and...


·      Think of one thing that’s getting you down at the moment? 


Next, pause and make a conscious effort to view this thing, person or situation from a different standpoint, perspective or angle.  Take a minute to think and call to mind a difficulty you have overcome in the past (big or small) and remind yourself that you can cope with adversity.  Remind yourself that you have the potential to overcome difficulties.  Don't take your past achievement for granted.  


Think about whether or not there is anything you can realistically do to stop yourself becoming overwhelmed with the problem that has been getting you down.  One general premise here is to realise that for all of us “things could be better ... things could be worse” so strive to find at least one positive in your situation. 


The issue will not magically disappear but thinking about it differently can take the edge of your anxiety, even if only slightly, for the moment.  Another option is to do something physical, e.g. exercise, (or indeed do whatever physical or mental activity gives you some relief from thinking about the issue non-stop.) Try to take your mind off the problem, even if it's only for a minute of deep breathing and concentrating on each breath in and out. 


Afterward you may well feel somewhat refreshed and fortified.


From now on, make a conscious effort to notice when you are in a rut and overly dwelling on this (or other) issues and speedily spin your thoughts or take a break.


Of course we need to be realistic here and since self talk happens all day everyday our thoughts are not going to be magically transformed with the flip of a coin or overnight.  That said, over time and with consistency, it’s not impossible to significantly change them. improve mental well being and leave the door ajar for happiness to seep in more and more often.

"Don't Worry Be Happy" - Bobby McFerrin

Why do people continue to use Negative Self Talk even when they know the harm it can do?


Unfortunately, it's simply easier to stick with the status quo and so, in a word, the answer to this question is “habit”.  However, by committing to taking responsibly for raising your own propensity for happiness you most certainly can diminish the unhelpful and self-defeating habit that is negative self talk.


And look - you're only here the once and so isn't it about time to make it a priority to make the most of your time and resolve to uplift yourself more and enjoy life more?

But what about those very real and unsettling Negatives that plague you?


Even the happiest of people have negatives in their life which they would prefer not to be there.  The thing to do is to decide which negatives are actually important and, of those, reflect carefully to decide which you can and cannot influence.


One approach to problem solving is to accept those negatives which cannot be changed and, as far as possible, put these to the back of your mind and focus instead on making a plan for improving those which you believe you can influence.



Next, break that plan down into manageable chunks and execute the plan methodically, noting and being thankful for every positive step you take to influence it for the better.  Ultimately, whether things change or not, you will know you have earnestly tried and this satisfaction will have you feeling happier whatever the final outcome. 


And even if in the end you are not able to change or improve your situation, you certainly can earnestly look at what you can learn from the experience and tuck it way to help you for the future.


 Again, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to make everything go just the way you want it to, but the crucial thing to know is that you can be measurably happier and more content whether things go your way or not. 


Working to catch and replace habitual self pity and negative self talk with more constructive positive and helpful thoughts, together with learning from experiences good or bad, will place you firmly on the road to developing more happiness within yourself.


Beautiful Day - U2

NEXT ...

Go to the final Happiness Article which centres on finding joy in small things, the significance of Gratitude plus an indispensable Happiness Checklist.


What's your view on this topic and what helps you to free your mind from habitual negative thoughts?

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