That Little Voice Inside Your Head

What does the little voice inside YOUR head say?

Shakespeare said:

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

What is that Voice Inside My Head?

Ever feel like your mind is much like the movie “Inside Out?”

The voice you may sometimes hear in the background of your mind is called Self-Talk. It is an internal dialogue everyone has going in their head, reciting between 150 and 300 words a minute.

Some people hear their self-talk more than others. Self-talk messages are based on your current mood, and can be positive or negative.

Increased repetitiveness of self-talk messages usually indicates the importance of that message. This persistence can affect your responses, attitudes and behaviours.

Self-Talk is one of the most effective forms of cognitive coping.

Positive Self-Talk

When your voice inside your head is talking positively, it is considering bad things as temporary and seeing them as isolated. e.g. “The weather caused it; That was a rough couple hours; That wasn’t so great, but I can do better next time.” It is also considering good things to be more permanent changes and generalising from them. E.g. “I’ve done well with this; Now I know how to do this; Things are working out well.”

Key words you will hear in positive self-talk are: ‘want’, ‘can’ and ‘will’

Positive self-talk can also be in the form of affirmations:

  • – reminding yourself of past related events where you achieved something
  • – reminding yourself of skills you have to perform well with
Negative Self-Talk

Negative talk coming from the voice inside your head is considering bad things permanent and then generalising them to other aspects of life. E.g. “I screwed up again; I always screw up; I’m not good at anything.” It is also considering good things to be temporary and seeing them only in a specific context. E.g. “We didn’t win because of me; The competition is fun, for now; I played well, this time.”

Key words you will hear in negative self-talk are: ‘cant’, ‘try’, ‘sorry’ and ‘but’

In relation to doing what others want you to do: ‘should’, ‘have to’ and ‘must’

When unsure of yourself (doubt): ‘wish’, ‘hope’ and ‘maybe’

Negative self-talk can lead you to concentrate on your mistakes, rather than what is needed to correct or improve performance, and negatively interpret criticisms and comments.

Why actively use Positive Self-Talk?

Positive self-talk elevates:

  • – mood
  • – self-esteem
  • – self-worth
  • – self-confidence
  • – mental toughness
  • – effort put towards an activity
  • – feelings of preparation

Positive self-talk also decreases anxiety and stress.


 “Positive intentions can result in positive outcomes”