Top 3 Ways To Improve Your Positive Self-Talk

My five o’clock alarm goes off. Snooze. My five-thirty alarm chimes. Snooze. Finally, around six o’clock in the morning, I peel my eyes open. My mind becomes a war zone of negative talk. “I should have gotten up at the first alarm.” “Show yourself grace; you stayed up with a sick kid.” “But...so much to do before the other kid wakes-up. Workout, devotional, work, shower, make-up, breakfast.” “That is just unattainable.”

You see, as a recovering perfectionist positive self-talk does not come easy for me. It is an aspect of self-care that often gets overlooked, but in my opinion, it is one of the MOST IMPORTANT acts of self-care that exist. So often self-care is considered a mani-pedi, a glass of wine, time to read a book, but there is SO much more to self-care than just luxuries.

Before becoming a mother, I found pride in being an overachiever. Unfortunately, with that came discontentment. My mind decided to focus on what was left to do, or where I was lacking. Enter motherhood. The high expectations that were unmet became breeding ground for negative self-talk, guilt, anger, and sadness. So, I did what us strong mamas do, and I fought back. Hard.

I went to counseling, I read books, and I practiced replacing those hurtful comments with new truths. Here are three things that I exercise to maintain positive self-talk and maybe they could help you, too:

  1. Practice positive affirmations: Speaking positive affirmations aloud every day can actually CHANGE your brain (seriously, it is pretty fascinating, you should google it!). I do this in the shower, during a workout, and even while driving. There are so many affirmation tracks on google and apps that can help you do this. Currently, I am a big fan of an app called, Mama. This app sends daily push notifications with affirmations to inspire and validate me during this season of my life. It is such a breath of life in those more trying days. I also have a track for my four-year-old daughter that we use on the way to school. There is something so powerful about hearing a young girl say, “I am strong. I am brave. I make friends easily. I am loved.”

  2. Change the conversation and challenge negative thoughts: When my negative voice wants to chime in, I immediately combat it with actual truths. For example, when I slept through my alarm and my mind wanted to take notice, I spoke to myself as though I was a friend. I find it essential to change and challenge the self-chatter that is not productive, and almost abusive. If you are a fan of journaling, here is an idea I have done in the past that is pretty powerful. Write out your internal dialogue. Your first line will be the negative thought. In the second line you follow-up with grace, or a different more positive truth. Continue writing out different negative thoughts until they are all out on paper. This practice makes changing the conversation in your head much easier.

  3. Practice gratitude daily: This seems so trivial, but it is so powerful. Every day, I choose to focus on the good. I also challenge myself to go beyond just my general thankfulness of health, family, food, shelter. I pick moments of time within the day that filled me with joy. Most days I come up with between 5-10 things, and I make sure there is always something specific for my husband, my kids, and myself. Life as a mama is pretty crazy, so I pop these into my note section on my phone. Some days, I will scroll back through them for an instant feeling of joy.

I challenge you to use one of these three techniques when you feel those negative thoughts creeping in. This form of powerful self-care could improve your self-talk and your life. And if you need more guidance on self-care, download the Mama’s Guide to Self-Care. It is a 6-week journey just for you, mama! Make a commitment to start where you are and let it help guide you into a self-care practice that works for you. Each week you will receive an email with a focus for the week, a journal prompt and more resources for those days you have a bit more time.

Jessica Pena