Positive Self-Talk promotes Growth Mindset Behavior

Whether you think you can or you can’t- you’re right.” - Henry Ford 

One way to assist someone in having and maintaining a healthy mind is to pay attention to their thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapy says that the way we think affects how we act and feel. The Chinese are another culture that holds this belief. Buddha said, “What you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you become.” 

This is difficult to do because people tend to focus on the bad things happening around them and the ANTs that live in their heads. What are ANTs? ANTs are automatic negative thoughts, and sometimes, no matter how good things are for us or those around us, they pop into our heads whenever something bad happens.

People often advise us to focus on the positive aspects of life. We all know this is easier said than done, but it is possible if you put in more work. Being aware of how you talk to yourself when these thoughts come up is a good way to get rid of them (aka the ANTs). 

We use the term "self-talk" in psychology to describe the way we talk to ourselves. This is our inner dialogue, which shapes how we see ourselves and the world around us. That being said, the American Psychological Association specifies that self-talk can be either positive or negative. Dr. Dawn Brown said it so well: "intrinsic affirmations that speak to the soul during fleeting moments of self-doubt, which strengthen self-belief."

We can slowly make changes in our lives if we pay attention to what we think. Carol Dweck, a psychologist, coined the terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset" to describe how people think about their skills and knowledge in this way. Individuals with a growth mindset think that they can get better at what they do by being patient, dedicated, and working hard. But people who have a fixed attitude believe that their skills can't change, which stops them from growing.

As the Growth Mindset became more popular, so did the use of "yet." Dr. Carol Dweck also coined this concept, known as the Power of "Yet." This expression is very useful for keeping people interested, open to learning, and building confidence. 

When we want to give someone feedback, we use the word "pa," which means "yet." In schools, teachers might say something like, "Si Janjan po, hindi pa marunong mag-sulat ng maayos, pero may improvement po." The boss might tell an employee, "We haven't met our goal for the month yet, but we see that you're trying!" And also when we encourage our kids, “Oh, hindi mo pa ba kaya gawin yung homework? It’s okay! We still have time all weekend. Pahinga ka muna.” The words "yet" or "pa" also help us see our weaknesses from a different perspective.

The word "yet" gives us hope that even if we can't do something right now, we will be able to at some point. It's also a good way to talk to ourselves because it gives us room to think about the goals we want to reach. When we are intentional about having a growth mindset, it jumpstarts us to the future that we want, which requires effort and commitment to our future growth.

Remember that positive self-talk is not the same as toxic positivity. That second one is very different; it only sees the good in people and events and doesn't take into account the fact that we are all still working on ourselves, that we get upset, and that we may feel stuck and tired as we try to reach our goals.

Speaking positively to yourself can help you achieve positive changes. If we do it on purpose, it can help our mental health, boost our drive, help us concentrate, and boost our confidence. Though it may take some effort and time, we can learn to be gentler with our thoughts and bodies by changing the way we speak to ourselves. In the end, progress is progress, no matter how little or big it is.

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