Positive Self Talk

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Nov 19, 2010

It has been shown time and time again that we believe what we hear ourselves say.

Optimism or pessimism may affect your quality of life, and also your attempt to stop smoking.  Studies indicate that optimism enables you to cope better with stressful situations, likely reducing the effects of stress on your body, and optimism may be linked to these health benefits: Greater resistance to catching the common cold, breathing easier if you have chronic obstructive long disease (emphysema), reduced risk of coronary artery disease, a sense of well-being and improved health, and a longer life.

 Self-talk is the endless stream of thoughts that run through your head every day.  This “conversation with yourself” can be mostly positive or mostly negative.  You can dramatically improve your chances of staying smoke-free by learning how to stop negative thoughts and practice positive self-talk.

Try turning your thoughts around! Here are some examples:


Negative self-talk                                            

This is too hard, I give up.                                 

I can’t stand it!                                                    

I’m not a nice person when I quit.                            


Positive spin

Let’s give this one more try.

This is hard, but I am strong

My friends understand what I’m going through, and it won’t last forever.


Good positive self-talk doesn’t ignore challenges and difficulties; instead it helps you have the strength and resilience to work through difficulties.  It gives you a realistic advantage.  With practice changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts becomes more second nature and you will find that you have more energy to accomplish what you set out to do – like stopping smoking.


Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated more than 50,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org