How do you talk to yourself (in your head)? Do you regularly critique your choices, your body, or the things you say? Are you consistently doubting yourself or beating yourself up? We all do this to a certain extent. Sometimes it’s because our egos get the best of us or we’re just in a crappy mood. Other times, we’re seriously evaluating ourselves and what we can do better, which is a worthwhile exercise.
However, persistent or rampant self-criticism is different. I find that negative self-talk can wear me down just in the same way that lack of sleep can. Therefore, I propose that an essential part of self-care includes talking to yourself in an overall gentle, supportive, patient, and positive way. Of course, this is far easier said than done. We all know it’s much easier (and sometimes perversely gratifying) to focus on the negatives in ourselves and in others. The mind is baffling sometimes.
That’s why I find it helpful to use sayings in the form of mantras or affirmations. Mantras and affirmations are usually short and simple positive phrases you say to yourself (out loud or in your head) that validate your worth or encourage you in a particular direction. This might sound a little woo-woo or New Age-y. And that’s fine. It is! But I encourage you to give it a shot.
Here are some very simple mantras that I find helpful: let it go, all is well, slow down, you are doing the best you can
The beauty is that you can use mantras and affirmations in countless ways. Below I’ve listed some creative ways I use mantras and affirmations daily to support positive self-talk.
How to talk to yourself: creative Ways To use mantras/affirmations
- Write on the mirror. Use a dry erase marker to write positive words or phrases on the bathroom mirror so that you can read them as you get ready in the morning. (You can also do this to leave sweet notes for your partner or roommate!)
- Wear the words. Brands like MantraBand make jewelry pieces that have inspirational words or phrases on them. Spiritual Gangster is another favorite of mine for clothing with powerful messages. You will focus on the words when you see them on you.
- Incorporate affirmations into your computer passwords. We log in to countless websites and accounts everyday (at least I do!). Change up some of your passwords to include positive phrases. You’ll be forced to remember, think about, and type the words possibly multiple times a day.
- Use affirmation decks as bookmarks. I have Gabrielle Bernstein’s Miracles Now: Inspirational Affirmations Deck. It was kind of an impulse buy and I later found myself asking, what on earth do I do with this? So I use the cards as bookmarks! That way, when I open a book, magazine, or whatever it might be, I’m reminded of an important affirmation. You can also do this with the pages of little books like this one.
- Post the words in your classroom (or office). I have the words “We Can Do Hard Things” posted on the board in my classroom, not just for my students, but for myself as well! I also will sometimes include kid-friendly affirmations such as, “I am kind” or “I try my best” at the end of the morning message I write for them. Sometimes what you provide for the kids, you can also benefit from yourself. Sneaky, eh?
Think about and pay attention to how you’re talking to yourself. I truly believe it’s a big part of your self-care.
Say nice things to yourself and be well,