Use This Simple Trick to Reduce Anxiety

Tricia Chadwick

Reduce social anxiety and improve self-control with this cognitive tool.

Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash

Even the flawless among us question their worth. When you are questioning yourself and dealing with low self-confidence, you may be unaware that there is a simple way to boost your confidence.

You can reduce anxiety by mastering a critical concept that psychologists call Positive Self -Talk.

Self-talk fosters self-love.

Everyone uses Self-Talk. The concept is simple to understand as the voice in your head throughout the day. This type of inner dialogue can take the form of positive, self-affirming speech or harmful, self-defeating speech.

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the beneficial type of Positive Self-Talk worked best in research “participants who used non-first-person pronouns and their own names during introspection.”

Simply stated, this means speaking about yourself as if you were someone else. This is the Self-Talk concept of self-distancing.

For example, Negative Self-Talk would be the voice in my head thinking, “tomorrow I have to write 1,000 words for a client on a topic I know nothing about, it’s going to be terrible.”

Positive Self-Talk, on the other hand, would be the voice in my head thinking, “tomorrow Tricia will write an interesting article on a new topic that she will research and learn about, giving her client a unique outlook on the topic.”

It sounds strange, but research shows it works.

“Positive self-talk is to emotional pain as pain pill is to physical pain.” ― Edmond Mbiaka

Humans tend to be very self-involved. As a species, we are very ego-centric, and most of our sentences begin with I or end with me. Positive Self-Talk creates distance by causing you to think of yourself as a “fly on the wall.”

This outsider perspective allows you to reflect on your experiences from a less emotional place, helping with self-regulation and “allowing people to observe and accept their feelings.”

Focus on yourself.

There are many benefits to Positive Self-Talk. It reduces social anxiety before a stressful event by distancing you from the stress.

“The way you choose to think and speak about yourself (to yourself and others), IS A CHOICE! You may have spent your whole life talking about yourself in a negative way, but that doesn't mean you have to continue that path.”
Miya Yamanouchi

Positive Self-Talk also reduces post-event stress, a time when we tend to process and overdramatize anxious moments that occurred during the day. This one is huge for me as I tend to overthink everything I said and did at social events to the point of paralysis.

How can you make Positive Self-Talk work for you?

Positive Self-Talk is about changing the inner voice in your head. In changing that voice, you can change your perspective, allowing a happier outlook on life. Give the science a try and see the benefits in your own life!

“Loving or hating the life you are living is solely all in your repeated self-talk.”
Edmond Mbiaka
  1. Think about yourself in the 3rd person to create distance between the anxiety-producing event. For example: “Tracy has an interview in the morning. She is going to be witty and look great too!” Remember, this might feel weird, but the distance it creates in your mind is critical. This has been proven by science, no matter how strange it seems.
  2. Be positive! Use your thoughts to think of the best possible outcome. Pretend you are your most encouraging friend. In fact, you should be your most encouraging friend! You deserve that for yourself!
  3. Keep trying. No one is positive all the time.

The most important advice is don’t give up!. If you have a bad day, be kind to yourself, and resume Positive Self-Talk. Like anything, it takes practice.

“No level of obstacle can prevail in crippling a mind that's continuously fed with positive self-talk.”
Edmond Mbiaka

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Small business owner, teacher, and mom. I write about learning, health, parenting, and animals.

Torrington, CT

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