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Ever heard of your inner voice telling you things like,
“You can’t do this” Or “You got this”.
What would you prefer your inner voice told you? - I think we all agree that we would like the little voice in our head to tell us that ‘you will not fail’. The inner voice is powerful and strong. More often than not it can influence how we behave and what action we take. Here’s the wonderful thing though - you can train your inner voice. In fact, positive self-talk is an important strategy for building self-confidence. While the research for positive self-talk is ongoing, Mayo Clinic experts say that the health benefits provided by positive self-talk can include lower rates of depression and distress, better cardiovascular health and better coping skills during times of stress.
Before we start talking about why positive self-talk is critical, let's define it. Positive self-talk is often misinterpreted as ignoring any unpleasant situations in life. Please know that it is most certainly not that. On the contrary, positive self-talk is about identifying situations that can make us feel sad and stressed, and then changing the narrative so we can approach those difficult situations in a productive way. Positive thinking relies on not ignoring the facts but changing how we describe the facts so we have a different perspective about the situation at hand.
It is an excellent coping strategy to approach unpleasantness in a more positive way. More so now than ever it is an essential skill for kids to learn and as parents, teachers or caregivers we must practice with them and teach them how to engage in positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk is a huge component of social emotional learning in young children. That is because it helps kids manage their big feelings and deal with difficult situations.
One important outcome of positive self-talk is that it encourages kids to take action and do something about the situation rather than blame the situation or worse blame themselves. For example, when a young student is learning how to write and makes mistakes, they might say, “I always make mistakes.” Encourage them to say, “Mistakes will help me learn''. A simple rephrase encourages them to take action and turn the situation around to stay curious and make progress.
Lowers rates of depression
Positive thinking helps with stress-management. When you practice positive thinking with kids, over time it becomes a way of life. It helps growing children, especially pre-teens and teens, cope better with stressful situations and get less depressed about it. In the long run this fosters better mental health and in some cases, researchers say it even increases life span because it reduces the harmful effects of stress on your body.
As you train growing children to engage in positive thinking, it gives them tools to not just manage difficult situations better but also find ways to mitigate the situation. It makes them better problem-solvers and teaches them to think outside the box. A lot of positive self-talk comes from reason and logic, and a good understanding of the facts. It is about acknowledging hard circumstances and finding ways to navigate them. Hence practicing positive self-talk can help growing children develop self-confidence.
Positive self-talk is a skill and like every other skill, it can be taught. Kids and young adults, especially teens may be skeptical at first about how to change their thinking. As a parent or teacher, if you stay consistent in practicing positive self-talk with them, it can train young adults to take a positive approach to everyday situations. Practicing self-talk out loud sometimes might sound silly but you have to let yourself hear it in order to train your inner voice to say it to you silently.
One of the most important ways to encourage kids to engage in positive self-talk is to flip the script, for example adding the word ‘yet’ at the end of certain sentences. Like saying, “I don’t know this yet”. Here are a few examples of how to put this in practice:
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