Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can improve your health, help you manage stress, overcome challenges, and make better choices. The idea is that by changing your thinking, you can control your emotions and your actions. Positive thinking starts with positive self-talk. Self-talk is the voice in our head that goes on throughout the day. A child or young adult might think to himself, “I need to study tonight so I do well on the quiz” or “I should raise my hand and try to answer this question”. In those instances, the voice is positive and encouraging. Self-talk can be negative, too. With negative self-talk one might say, “I’m always horrible at math, so there’s no reason to even study”. Best of all, kids and young adults can actually train their brains to use more positive self-talk. Relying on positive self-talk can help in every aspect of life, including school, home, friends, sports, and everything else.
Some strategies for teaching and encouraging positive self-talk include modeling it, having open groups discussions, and providing explicit practice with real life situations that come up. Try teaching positive self-talk with these Positive Thinking Task Cards. The task cards cover positive thinking, self-esteem building statements, goal setting, and identifying strengths and positive memories. One very simple activity includes turning a negative statement into a more positive one. This provides real practice in helping kids and young adults to train their brains to think more positively. Check out my blog post on how to teach positive self-talk if you’re interested on more strategies and ideas.
Let’s consider a few reasons why positive self-talk can be so critically important to kids and young adults:
1. Increases self-esteem. Positive self-talk helps kids and young adults to recognize their personal strengths and all the great things they are truly capable of. This boost in self-esteem is so critical at a young age. Kids and young adults should feel that they can are capable of anything.
2. Improves motivation. If you feel better about yourself, you’re more likely to accomplish the tasks you need to. Positive self-talk like “I can do this” and “This might be tough but I can do anything I put my mind to” are strategies that kids and young adults can use to motivate themselves even during difficult times.
3. Curbs negative emotions. By using positive self-talk, it drives the negative self-talk away. Negative comments, such as “you can’t do this” and “you are just terrible at math” really don’t help at all. Instead, positive self-talk helps refocus our thinking to make positive changes.
4. Helps with physical health. When mental health is in a positive place, your physical health often follows. Those who use positive self-talk frequently have healthier immune systems, improved sleep, and even increase life expectancy.
5. Develops resilience. All kids will make mistakes. They need to learn to get back up again after they fall! Positive self-talk promotes this type of resilience, as kids learn to refocus their thinking in times of failure. After making a mistake or confronted with a failure, kids who use positive self-talk are more likely to say, “Here’s what you’ll do better next time” instead of focusing on the negative.
6. Reduces stress. Kids and young adults need to learn how to handle stress. Positive self-talk is a strategy that they can take with them wherever they go. When confronted with stressful situations, it can be extremely important to use positive thoughts to direct your thinking and actions.
7. Encourages taking risks. When a mistake is made, kids who use positive self-talk are able to bounce back more easily. This actually encourages risk-taking and not being afraid to step outside their comfort zone.
8. Serves as a life-long coping strategy. Kids will eventually grow into adults who need to have positive coping strategies for challenging situations. Positive self-talk is a life-long strategy that can be used anywhere and anytime. It will help with friends, in relationships, and in the work place.
9. Helps kids achieve their true potential. Kids and young adults believe what they hear and think about themselves. If they are only saying negative comments to themselves, this is the reality they will become. By teaching kids to use positive self-talk, it allows them to realize their own individual greatness. This opens the door for opportunities of growth and success down the road.
Overall, positive thinking can help you reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. This helps you control your emotions and manage the challenges you are facing. Sometimes it’s helpful to use positive self-talk right before a difficult situation, like a test or tryouts for a sport. It’s also helpful just to use positive self-talk any time, like at the start of the day to begin on a positive note. Positive self-talk is strategy for success that can be used anywhere and anytime. On any given day, kids and young adults hear a lot of negativity. They truly need reminders about positive self-talk so they can start to believe in themselves and achieve their true potential. Check out my store for more ideas and resources on teaching positive thinking skills!