Self-Talk – we could all be more mindful. Positive self-talk can significantly affect our life satisfaction. Let’s start by adopting five positive mindsets: optimism, perseverance, self-control, focusing on relationships, and being grateful. Then, there are five things we can do right now to improve our self-talk: we can practice gratitude, we can start journaling, we can adopt a morning ritual, we can develop a mantra, and we should all watch our language.  Let’s do this!



  • Key Learnings

  • Links to References

  • Introduction

  • 5 Mindsets

  • 5 Things to do Right Now

  • Conclusion

Key Learnings


Links to References













Talk About Talk & Dr. Andrea Wojnicki


I hope you had a chance to listen to last week’s episode, #25: Building Resilience: Sets & Reps with Eat Clean founder and master wellness coach Tosca Reno.  If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode before you listen to this one.


For the first time, we’re running a three episode series.  The topic is self-talk. Last week, as I said, I interviewed the inspiring Tosca Reno about Resilience. Today, for episode, #26, I’m going to summarize for you the research I uncovered about Self Talk, so we can optimize our inner voice.   And then in the next episode in this self-talk series, episode #27, Tosca Reno will be back with us and you will hear her take on POSITIVE SELF-TALK & the 3Es of WELLNESS. 


After listening to today’s episode, you’ll walk away with 5 specific mindsets that we all should seek in our self-talk, and also 5 things we can do right now to improve our self-talk.



What is Self-Talk?

Do you know the definition? Well, some people use the term inner voice” as a synonym for self-talk.  Or they might refer to “that little voice” inside your head. It’s – what you’re thinking.  It’s what you’re saying to yourself.


Self-talk can be out loud, or it can be written.  Like writing in a diary or a journal, that is certainly self-talk. You’ll hear Tosca talk about journaling in the next episode when she shares some of her strategies for positive self-talk. Journaling is one of the rituals that she tries to follow every morning.


And self-talk is happening all the time.  Whether or not you’re conscious of it, mindful, or working to improve it.

For our purposes here, we’re focusing on self-talk as communication to ourselves and about ourselves. Got that?  To ourselves and about ourselves.


Self-Talk can be focused on the past, the present, or the future. In terms of the past, self-talk can be reconciling what you said or did in your own mind. For example, this has probably happened to you. After you have an argument with someone, it could be your partner, your co-worker, or even a stranger. You know how you re-create the argument in your mind?  I can’t believe he said that!  Oh – I wish I had thought of telling him … whatever.  You know that dialogue in your head?  That’s self-talk.


Self-talk can also be absolutely present. Maybe particularly when you’re feeling self-conscious. Maybe when you’re at an event. Remember the ABCDEs I shared in episode #24?  Thinking about the ABCDEs would be an example of present-focused self-talk.


But self-talk can also be future-oriented.  In fact, it can be powerful when you think about and plan your future success.  More on that in a moment.


One of the main reasons why it’s so important to pay attention to self-talk, is because it can be positive and productive, or it can be negative and self-defeating.  Your self-talk can have significant consequences.


Generally, we can think about two main goals when it comes to self-talk:

  1. To become more aware, more mindful of our self-talk
  2. To make it more positive


There’s more and more research about the power of positive self-talk.  I’m sure you’ve heard or read about this, if even anecdotally. Being positive, or optimistic, is an example of a mindset that we can and should seek. 


5 Mindsets

When I was doing the research for this episode on self-talk. I kept coming across a few specific mindsets that I want to share with you.  Of course there are many mindsets, but here are 5 that I read about repeatedly and that I think can really help us with our self-talk.  They are: optimism or positivity (as I said), perseverance (or grit), self-control (or delaying gratification), focusing on relationships, and last, being grateful.


First, Optimism – Optimism as in preparing yourself for success, looking on the bright side, and embracing adversity.

Of course, people who are optimistic are happier.  That’s almost tautological, isn’t it?  But research shows that optimism is also a predictor of success.  One meta-analysis that I found, a summary of all of the relevant research, showed that specifically, being optimistic is most strongly correlated with positive coping strategies. 


I also came across something in my research called “the adversity quotient”.  It’s about not just being optimistic, but actually embracing adversity. We heard about this from Tosca Reno in the recent Resilience episode. The adversity quotient refers to the way in which people respond to challenges. Research demonstrates that people who are primed to deal with adversity handle it better than others. That means that people who have resilience strategies, including an optimistic mindset, a healthy lifestyle, and other strategies and tactics, can overcome adversity. 


How about this fact about having an optimistic mindset? Being optimistic, having a positive outlook, can also improve your physical health and longevity.  Optimism is correlated with heart health, blood pressure, and recovery from surgery.


I included a link in the shownotes to a summary from Harvard Health about the research between optimism and several positive health outcomes. Yes, people, this is MIND OVER MATTER.  Your optimism can affect your longevity!


The second mindset to consider with our self-talk is Perseverance (or Grit)

If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book GRIT, you’ve probably heard of it.  She describes how a combination of passion and perseverance contribute to grit. Perseverance is also referred to as  mental strength. It’s less innate, and more a result of practice.  That is good news for all of us.  Practice makes perfect.  The message here is that when we work at things, we will succeed.  It’s not that the work’s easy, but rather that it will pay off.


The third mindset to consider in our quest to optimize our self-talk: Self-Control or Delaying Gratification.


Have you heard of the marshmallow experiments? – In 1972, Stanford professor Walter Mischel did a study where he sat some kids down in a room, each with a  marshmallow.  He told them that he was going to leave, and when he came back, if they didn’t eat the marshmallow, he would give them a second one.  Of course, some kids ate the marshmallow.  But others waited and then they later received a second marshmallow.  They demonstrated self-control and delayed their gratification.


The differences between the kids who ate the marshmallow and those who didn’t –were staggering.  You definitely want to be one of the kids who demonstrated self-control.  The children who were willing to wait for the second marshmallow ended up with higher SAT scores and other academic achievements, lower levels of substance abuse, lower rates of obesity, were better able to handle stress, amongst other things.


So the next time you’re trying to exercise some self-control – say you’re trying to minimize your food intake, or you’re considering watching TV instead of  working on an important presentation, remember those kids and their marshmallows.  And the incredible difference that self-control can make.  Beyond the obvious.  It’s more than just an extra marshmallow or a smaller waistline or a well-prepared presentation.


The fourth mindset is Focusing on Relationships.


In all the research I did, I kept reading about how focusing on relationships is what makes a difference in people’s quality of life.


It’s about people, not things.  It’s the relationships that matter.


That sounds right. I keep hearing about when people are on their death beds, they’re consumed with thoughts about relationships – family members, and close friends, not  tangible things.  The focus is on people.  So when it comes to mindset, we should seek to ensure most of our self-talk is about our relationships, not about our things.


The fifth mindset is Being Grateful.  


Being thankful.  Appreciating things.


We heard a bit on this from Tosca Reno in the most recent episode.  And she has lots more to share on gratitude in the next episode.


Gratefulness, or specifically “practicing gratitude”  is also one of the 5 things that we can do RIGHT NOW to improve our self-talk.

5 Things to do NOW to Optimize our Self-Talk

The first is Practicing Gratitude.


What does that mean?  Well, one paper I read defined gratitude as appreciating the positive aspects of life.”


There are several tactics you can try to make this happen.


Start simply – by using the word “grateful”.  (Hey – I am grateful for the fact that you’re listening!) You can also look for the gifts.  Look for the pleasant surprises.


You can also consciously consider the absence of a person or a situation.  What would you miss if that person or that situation was absent? What benefits do they provide?


You can also try journaling about what you’re grateful for.


Journaling is the second thing we can do right now to improve our self-talk.

Journaling is simply writing things down.  Sharing your thoughts – with yourself.  Keeping a diary of some form.


I started doing this several years ago  I was inspired by some research that I read that concluded that people’s life satisfaction increases when they wrote what they are grateful for on a regular basis. So I started writing 3-5 things I was grateful for each day.  When I read it now, it’s a wonderful diary. 


A few pointers if you want to start doing this:

  1. Can be trivial (like “it was sunny today”), or significant (“I am grateful that my partner has my back…”)
  2. Make it specific
  3. Journal while you’re in bed in the morning.


Which brings me to the third thing you can do right now to improve your mindset: Focus on what you’re doing in the morning.


You know the saying “Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy wealthy and wise?”  Well, there might be something to it.


And what you do first thing can set the tone for the rest of the day.  So why not start with positive self-talk, first thing in the morning?  Maybe try journaling?


The 4th thing you can do right now to improve your self-talk is Develop a Mantra. 


Do you remember the old Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes commercials, where the iconic Tony the Tiger sang, “It’s gonna be a great day?”  You could start there.  Just a suggestion.  But find a short and simple but meaningful saying that resonates with and inspires you.  Say it first thing in the morning and repeat it as often as you can.


Thinking about your mantra is a great habit to get yourself into.  You might want to write it at the top of your TO DO list.  Or print it and post it somewhere where you’ll see it.  Maybe stick it in your wallet. 


You could also do what Tosca Reno did.  She had her mantra tattooed on her wrist! You’ll hear all about that next week, and yes, I took a photo of the tattoo so you can see it – for real.


The fifth thing you can do right now is Watch Your Self-Talk Language.


Hey – this is Talk About Talk !!!  We have to watch our words.


If you ever took a psychology class at university, you might remember attribution theory?  Well, it’s about to what or to whom do we attribute things – including positive and negative outcomes.  It explains how people like to take credit for positive outcomes and blames others or blame external forces for negative outcomes.


Well, research also shows that pessimists generally take the blame for bad news (you know…. “Oh – It’s me.  It’s my fault”), while the optimist is less likely to take the blame for negative events. Instead, he tends to give himself credit for good news. 


Now of course, we need to be realistic, but we shouldn’t hesitate to take credit for positive outcomes.


We should also be very careful – mindful – about the WORDS we use:

  • Not “I SHOULD” but “I will”
  • Not “I’ll TRY” but “I will”
  • And not “I Can’t” but “I CAN” This last one is courtesy of Tosca Reno.  She advises that we say and think the words “I CAN”.  The words in your head can be incredibly powerful.


We summarized five mindsets that we should seek, and five things we can do right now to improve our self-talk.


Do you remember the 5 mindsets?  They are optimism, perseverance, self-control, focusing on relationships, and last, being grateful.


And the five things we can do right now to improve our self-talk? We can practice gratitude, we can start journaling, we can adopt a morning ritual, we can develop a mantra, and we should all watch our language.


I’ve created a summary of these 5 self-talk mindsets and the 5 things we can do right now to improve our self-talk. (See the Key Learnings) 


If you have any comments about this episode, I would love to hear them.  Please email me at or connect with me through the website or on social media.


Next week, we’ll be back with the 3rd and final episode focusing on Self-Talk.  Once again, the Eat Clean founder and master wellness coach Tosca Reno will be with us, sharing her expertise on positive self-talk and the 3Es of wellness. I can’t wait for you to hear Tosca’s first hand advice about how to keep it positive.


Alright that’s it.  I hope you have a great week.  Talk soon!


THANK YOU for listening! And reading!


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