What do you say to yourself? The difference between helpful self-talk and unhelpful positive affirmations!

What do you say to yourself? The difference between helpful self-talk and unhelpful positive affirmations!

Check out this interesting and important article from Positive Psychology News Daily in which the difference between helpful self-talk and the sometimes unhelpful positive affirmations is discussed. Not all types of "positive thinking" are the same; nor are they all good for us! This article explains why and how you can get it right more often…

by Sherif Arafa

In a classic Egyptian comedy movie, a patient tells his psychologist that he feels bad because he is too short. The therapist advises him to repeat to himself, “I’m not absurdly short; I’m ridiculously tall!” and everything will be fine!

Some people mock the idea of positive affirmations and consider them some kind of self-deception or delusion. Meanwhile, it is commonly suggested in pop psychology and spiritual books to use self-affirmations to raise confidence, considering that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Self-talk is what people say to themselves either out loud or as a small voice inside their head. So has it been scientifically proven that positive self-talk can make any difference at all?

According psychological studies and experiments, do self-affirmations really work?

I’m a lovable person!

In a recent study that investigated the effect of self-talk, researchers chose a self-affirmation statement suggested by a self-development book: “I’m a lovable person.” Then they asked participants to repeat this statement to see how it affected their self-esteem.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that people with high self-esteem felt better when they did this, while people with low self-esteem did not; in fact, they actually felt worse!

Does this mean that self-affirmations are useful only for people with high self-esteem, and harmful for people with low self-esteem?

Can’t we use positive self-talk to help us when we feel down?

Custom-made Affirmation

Other researchers performed a different experiment. They let the participants write down the most common thoughts that cross their minds during the day and then use the most positive and believable thought as a self-affirmation to rehearse more often.

This experiment resulted in an obvious increase in the participants’ self-esteem, even in people with low self-esteem.

Why did this happen?

By comparing this experiment to the first one, we can infer that the key point is to use a self-affirmation that comes from a person’s own thoughts, not a random mantra advised by a self-help guru that may not fit people’s beliefs about themselves. Repeating a self-affirmation that doesn’t feel right can make someone feel worse…

…keep reading HERE for tips on how to self-talk positively