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What's the deal with self-talk?

Self-talk is exactly what is sounds like – talking to yourself! No, it's not strange – in fact, it can be hugely beneficial. We talk to Australian youth and parenting advice experts ReachOut for some tips and insights into self-talk.

What's the deal with self-talk?

For starters, self-talk doesn't mean you're going a little around the twist. Far from it. Self-talk is a good thing to have and be aware of, because it's a powerful self-confidence tool that kids can harness and take advantage of from an early age.

Self-talk is your inner voice, the part of your mind that says the things you don't say out loud. It often happens without you even realising it. But, there are two sides to self-talk – positive and negative.

Positive self-talk

Positive self-talk makes you feel good about yourself and the things going on in your life. It's like having an optimistic voice in your head that always looks on the bright side.

For example:

  • 'I can totally make it through this challenge.'
  • 'I didn't make the team, but I'll try again next time.'
  • 'I know I did my best.'

Negative self-talk

Negative self-talk, though, makes you feel pretty flat about yourself, and about life in general.

For example:

  • 'This is all too hard.'
  • 'I can't do this.'
  • 'I suck at this game.'

Negative self-talk isn't good for you, as it brings you down, and could keep you down. To avoid these sorts of downers, try to practise putting a positive, rather than a negative, spin on things.

Challenge negative thoughts

Learning to challenge negative thoughts might take time and practice, but it's worth the effort. Once you start looking at things differently, you'll be surprised by how much of your thinking is inaccurate, exaggerated, or focused on the negatives of the situation.

It might not seem like much, but self-talk is a really important part of building and maintaining self-esteem and confidence — especially for kids. By working on increasing your positive self-talk and reducing the negative, you'll be more likely to get things done and to feel more in control of what's happening in your life.

Sounds good.

ReachOut is Australia's leading online health website for young people and their parents. Working with registered counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals ReachOut provides online self-help tools that are used by over 1.5 million Australians each year. A valuable resource for many parents, teens and young adults.

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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