Talking to each other is psychologically healthy

We’ve all heard that if you talk to yourself you’re “crazy”, but that’s not always the case. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, talking to yourself in a positive way is actually very healthy for your psyche.

My first exposure to positive self-talk (PST) was reading “The Little Engine That Could.” Do you remember this book from your childhood? While trying to climb a big hill, the little engine kept saying to itself “I think I can, I think I can”, and sure enough, it did. It’s a valuable lesson for children – really for people of all ages – to learn and remember.

Positive self-talk is one of the most valuable tools you can use to stay emotionally and mentally balanced. I’m sure 99% of Olympic and professional athletes use it every time they take off the starting grid during practice and performance. I’ve seen it used by rock stars, movie stars, star surgeons – and I use it myself daily.

Positive self-talk is also a great way to calm down, and you can use it anywhere. It can help reduce anxiety and depression in your moods, and it’s a very simple method to boost your self-esteem. The real beauty is that all of these things happen at the same time when you say positive things to yourself.

When it comes to positive self-talk, the simpler the better. My favorite is “I’m fine”. Back when I was in the movies, I hung out with the stunt team and always marveled at how they could fall down a flight of stairs without even breaking a fingernail. I was told the secret was to stay lost and talk to your body.

I had the chance to try it one day, and, no, not as a stuntman. My apartment was on the second floor of a duplex, and one rainy day I slipped on the top step and started to tumble. The only thing I could think of doing was what the stunt guys said, “Stay the loser.” And I did. I spoke to my body and told it that everything was fine.

I fell down two flights of stairs talking to myself like this. Basically, I was flat on my back, wet and scared, but I started trying to figure out what to do next. Checking how I felt lying there, I didn’t notice any sharp pain anywhere and I could wiggle my toes and fingers. Gradually the feeling returned to my body, and I slowly rolled onto my side and started to stand up.

To my surprise, I was fine and went into the house to take a shower. I believe to this day that it was positive self-talk that helped keep me from being seriously hurt. I had used it before, but never in an emergency, and it worked wonderfully.

In addition to saving your life, positive self-talk can help you calm down and feel less sad when you’re depressed. When I wake up and think, “Hey Barton, you’re going to have a great day today,” I’m programming my brain to feel good. If you do this throughout the day, fewer things will bother you and you may become friendlier with yourself and others.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, psychotherapist in Westlake Village, California. Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at [email protected] ©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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