Andrew JenkinsAndrew JenkinsNovember 29, 2018


Is talking to yourself healthy or not?

A newspaper article once caught my eye. The piece, headlined ‘Why talking to yourself is NOT a sign of a mental illness’, reflected on a psychologist Paloma Mari-Beffa’s view that both inner self-talk and talking out loud can have very positive effects.

The article highlights that inner self-talk (and yes we all talk to ourselves in our heads) is a key part of how our minds work to manage the way we function. Talking out loud can amplify the self-instruction element of our internal conversation to increase control over a task and improve performance.

I can vouch for the positive and negative impacts of self-talk too, based on my experience of coaching leaders and working with teams.

Interestingly the starting point is often not so much about improving performance by simply being more positive – I term that being ‘happy stupid’. It’s a bit more subtle than that. I’ve found it’s more about taking control of the nature of inner self-talk and use of negative verbal language especially, self-depreciating inner mind chatter. My view is that this is an important learning point for all leaders.

Some people use negative language to motivate themselves, but as a contrast, negative self-talk can be a significant factor in compounding feelings of low confidence, self-doubt, insecurity, or poor motivation as well. I have worked with many, otherwise highly intelligent, competent, and capable people who have quite literally talked themselves out solving personal or business problems. I’ve done it myself too.

How about you? Do you find that you talk to yourself using negative and limiting language too?

Fortunately, if you do, then you are certainly not alone. However, there are a variety of ways in which we can take control of what’s happening.

Oi, you! Yes, you! Mind your language

One very useful tool is to reframe your negative emotions by introducing language that promotes a positive or growth mindset instead. At the very least it is helpful to soften your emotive and negative language.

For example, instead of telling yourself, ‘the last project was a complete failure,’ instead say ‘we learned a lot of valuable lessons from the last project’.

This language is far more purposeful. Simply put, using negative language leads us to use the ‘downstairs’ part of our brains. That part of our brains is hard-wired up to access our fears and survival and protection instincts.

In contrast, purposeful language leads us to access more of the ‘upstairs’ part of our brains. This part of the brain enables to process more choices, options, possibilities, and potentialities.

Becoming self-aware of your self-talk and verbal language is a major step towards gaining strong emotional intelligence skills. In this way, you quickly become aware of how easy it is to replace highly emotive words that have a negative impact on you and others, with softer and more purposeful words.

For example, ‘concerned’ to ‘aware’, ‘insecure’ to ‘unsure’, or ‘furious’ to ‘passionate’.

What if?

Another reframing tool is to pose ‘What if?’ questions to yourself. For instance:

‘What if the Board likes our marketing strategy?’ or ‘What if my experience is just right for the new job?’. These sorts of questions stimulate your brain into thinking and presupposing positively instead about your situations and activities that you are considering. It’s an excellent way to conjure up some attractive scenarios that will naturally introduce you to more intelligent ways to talk to yourself and to others too.

That leads me to a third idea (and of course there are lots more), which is the use of affirmations.

That quite simply uses the language you have uncovered in your reframing to make positive statements to yourself. Back to the newspaper article – you can even follow Paloma Mari-Beffa’s advice and say them out loud for added performance.

Stand in front of the mirror and practise, tell yourself that ‘I am an effective leader’ or ‘the presentation will be a success’. Remember to match your language with open and empowered body postures too.

But, best to do this alone, otherwise you’ll look a right turkey!

You’ll be amazed how quickly your mind will work to make those statements come true.

Don’t hit the ball in the water

Every golf player quickly learns not to say or think: ‘Don’t hit the ball in the water’, or ‘Don’t muff this shot up’. The intention here is good, but these phrases will predispose them to do exactly that. Therefore, the ball ends up in the water, and so the shot gets muffed up.

We often hear ‘Don’t worry about…’ this or that, or ‘don’t get this wrong’. But this type of language results in you focussing on this or that worry and getting things wrong – back to the downstairs part of our brains again.

Therefore, the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ certainly holds true.

But remember, thinking about what you don’t want sets up your attention to think about the very thing you don’t want. Ultimately this often leads to low performance.  So instead, a more successful strategy is to think about what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.

Personal anecdote

I used to have quite a negative attitude to life and I always worried about things not turning out how I want them to. However, a few years ago I consciously decided to work on myself and start to use purposeful language more of the time.

Since then, I’ve benefited hugely from the results. In particular, it has helped me to see the world more positively rather than negatively and I have also found that I my conversations with others is far more rewarding. Therefore, I know it works.

Since then as an educator I am privileged to guide leaders and teams to use purposeful language too. It does take practise though. However, it’s often one of the first steps for many people towards unblocking the obstacles that are preventing their potential to be realised.

This article originally appeared on

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



UK Trademark UK00002648900

EUIPO Trademark 018131832

Contact Information

For article submissions:
Paul Ainsworth

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Masterclass enquiries:
Tel: +44 20 86385584

Customer Experience Magazine Limited
Company number: 12450532
International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct,
United Kingdom, London, England, EC1A 2BN


Find a job in customer support with Jobsora


male enhancement: my sex drive is low gerald mwangi regular people sex mens health life where to buy generic viagra best penile enlargement pills viagra for recreational use does jelqing works compare cialis prices steroids vs testosterone erection help over the counter magnum condom wiki large penis sex top rated supplements measure dick micro penile disorder regular size cock monster cock pump foods that raise testosterone levels does masturbation increase penis size wild sex pill where can i buy viagra connect euphoric male enhancement pill ten day hard pills sensations sex vitamin for testosterone blue norcos comed online otc male enhancement that works viagra super active reviews

vape: can you take a vape on a plane 2018 meaning uwell crown cover dragon ball vape vape juice cheap 120ml victorian vape box mods skins xvape v one all in one mod vape refurbished izanami igniter voopoo drag minki ways to wick your ecig cloudscape vape portable hookah pens vaporesso polar 220w review cucumber melon vape juice fabrication liquide e cigarette vape it forward juice ecig non box mod e cigarette heads rafale uwell coils wattage vaping skittles nathan vaporhowe salt nicotine juul wont charge bad drip juice vaping swag smok procolor 225w tc starter kit the clear vape pen smok v8 baby beast starter kit vape shops chicago il

weight loss: christina aguilera weight loss low carb diet weight loss plateau herbalife weight loss side effects quick weight loss pearland texas weight loss exercise video hot water and lemon for weight loss freezing fat for weight loss liquid cleanse diet weight loss first doctors weight loss hiram new weight loss pill approved by fda best type of yoga for weight loss keto forskolin weight loss prepared meals delivered ambien weight loss weight loss pills nhs weight loss leggings sugar blocker pills weight loss dr sebi weight loss pills highly effective weight loss pills moringa weight loss pills thyroid hormone weight loss pills 30 plus diet pills supplement diet pills weight loss during sleep over the counter diet pills like adipex diabetic diet for weight loss meal plan slim fire az weight loss spa treatment garcinia ultra easy slimming weight loss pills

cbd oil: cbd north carolina reddit cbd vape is it legal to sell cbd oil cbd reviews 2018 neuro xpf cbd ulcers cbd building uf kandy therapeutics is it ok to vape cbd oil cbd in medical term cbd edmond ok disadvantages of oil natural native cbd spray select cbd tincture review rydges hotel adelaide cbd cbd oil canada for sale cbd store louisville ky cbd oil with antidepressants can i fail a drug test for cbd what 8s cbd oil cannabidiol effects paradoxical definition medical ok abbreviation state cbd k pods dj esco deal with it does cbd reduce swelling the power of one cbd oil for chronic back pain where to buy canopy growth cbd oil dosage of cbd oil for sleep