By Barbara Broggelwirth, RDN, CDN
Self-talk is our internal dialogue where we provide opinions about what we are doing as we are doing it. This self-talk shapes our perception of life experiences and can alter our behavior. If our self-talk is predominantly negative, negative actions are likely to follow.
Fortunately, negative self-talk habits can be altered to promote positive life changes. One of the ways to sustain optimism and promote healthy behaviors is to intentionally fill your thoughts with positive self-talk. Daily affirmations can help us reprogram a negative view of ourselves by encouraging us to focus on and believe our more positive attributes.
According to Kathryn J. Lively, PhD, “Affirmations are simply statements that are designed to create self-change in the individual using them. They can serve as inspiration, as well as simple reminders. They also can serve to focus attention on goals throughout the day, which, in and of itself, has the potential to promote positive and sustained self-change.”
The formula for writing positive affirmations:
- Write them in the first person.
For Example: “I enjoy eating healthy food”.
- Write them in the positive (not negative).
For Example: Instead of “I no longer enjoy the taste of fried food,” you might say “I am a healthy person, and I love the way my body feels when I make healthy choices”.
- Give your affirmation an emotional charge.
For Example: Instead of “I only eat nutritionally dense food” try “I feel vibrant and energized when I eat healthy foods”.
- Write them in the present state.
For Example: Instead of “I will be attractive when I lose 10 pounds” consider “I am fit and attractive”.
Saying something you don’t truly believe about yourself may feel unnatural and silly at first. Remember that the purpose of daily affirmations is to rewrite the self-talk in your subconscious mind. Just like anything else, it takes practice.
Reference: Lively, Kathryn J. “Affirmations: The Why, What, How, and What If?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 12 Mar 2014, http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/smart-relationships/201403/affirmations-the-why-what-how-and-what-if.
Barbara Broggelwirth is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is currently working with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients. She works with patients to help them achieve their health and weight loss goals.