Self-talk is the endless stream of thoughts that run through your heads every day. This “conversation with yourself” can affect how you feel. Positive thoughts can help you feel happier and more hopeful, and negative thoughts can engender sad feelings and caution. The reverse is also true, how you feel affects the stream of thoughts running through your head. It can be empowering to know that, with attention and practice, thoughts and feelings are amenable to change, and being able to flexibly change thought patterns and feelings can enhance well-being.
Many people spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about things that cannot be controlled, or get stuck in a negative pattern of thinking. This can activate emotions and physical processes that are intended to help deal with emergencies. Tight muscles, clenched jaw, headaches, poor digestion and fitful sleep can be the result. While there is a time for being concerned and dealing with emergencies, being able to bounce back and create an optimistic hopeful perspective can reduce the effects of stress on the body. Optimism is linked to a number of benefits such as better resistance to the common cold, reduced risk of coronary artery disease, improved weight management, a sense of well-being and a longer life.
Optimism or pessimism can affect your quality of life, and also your efforts to stay tobacco-free. While it is important to plan to avoid relapse, worrying about it incessantly or fretting about how difficult it is to manage cravings, can be exhausting. But, by bringing in a fair share of optimism you can build hope, confidence and resilience for living a happier smoke free life.
Try turning your thoughts around! Here are some examples:
Negative self-talk Positive spin
This is too hard, I give up. I’ve done it so far, I can keep at it.
I can’t stand it! This is hard, but I am strong.
I’m not a nice person when I quit. My friends understand what I’m going
through, and it won’t last forever.
If you are struggling, take a moment to observe how you’re thinking. If you are being unfairly pessimistic try making a change. You deserve to feel your best.