We all have an inner dialogue with ourselves. Sometimes the things we say or think about ourselves can be very negative or critical and aren’t things we’d say to a friend or loved one. Practicing positive self-talk can help increase our self-confidence and curb the negative or harmful thought patterns that bring us down. It can be done by saying affirming things to yourself out loud, possibly in the mirror, or simply by rewording some of your thoughts so that they exhibit more self-compassion:
For example, ‘I didn’t know the answers today in class – what an idiot!’ could become ‘I know I can do better than that, it was just a bad day. If I prepare for next time, I’ll get more right.’ That is much closer to something kind you might say to a friend or loved one.
What young people have told us:
'Self talk is so important. By challenging negative self talk with positive talk we can become happier.'
'Focus on your strengths and remind yourself of these. If you make a mistake then remember all the times you succeeded.'
'One of the most helpful things I have learnt is being aware of thoughts. As they come into your mind you are able to acknowledge them and if you want you can move move it on. You can do this with negative thoughts and realise that you can control them and not let them control you.'
'I sometimes practise mindfulness and one of the most helpful things I have learnt is being aware of thoughts. As they come into your mind you are able to acknowledge them and if you want you can move it on. You can do this with negative thoughts and realise that you can control them and not let them control you.'
There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.
If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.