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Self-Talk: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All

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What do you say when you look in the mirror? I look fat. I look old. I look frumpy. Are you constantly bugging your friends about how you look? (i.e., does my butt look big in this?)

Maybe it’s time to have a talk with yourself. A positive self-talk.

In a recent study, researchers have discovered that negative self-talk, especially about your body-image (fat) can bring on depression.

"These results suggest that expressing weight-related concerns, which is common especially among women, has negative effects," lead author Analisa Arroyo, a graduate student in communications at the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a journal news release. "We found that fat talk predicts changes in depression, body satisfaction and perceived pressure to be thin across time."

In other words, negative self-talk is not healthy. It can bring down self-esteem and confidence. Nobody needs that.

Try these tips:

Next time you look in the mirror :

- Choose three of your best facial features.
Women often focus on the bad points of their face. The neck wattle. The crow’s feet. Or what’s up with those dark circles under my eyes?

Ignore the negative areas and focus on the positive. I do have pretty eyes. This lip-gloss really shows off my plump lips. I’m so glad I inherited my mom’s smooth complexion.

- Reframe your body image.
Now that research has proven that negative talk about your weight can lead to depression (and most likely, anxiety, too), make it a goal to stop talking about it. Either work on the problem areas or, guess what, accept it.

You don't need to look like the women on the magazine covers. Or think of this way, you may need to drop a few pounds, but you still have perky breasts and great legs. Embrace the positive.

- Smile.
Did you know smiling creates less wrinkles than frowning? What a nice plus for having a pleasant expression. If you walk around looking like a "Gloomy Gus" and complaining constantly, not only will you bring yourself down, but also those around you.

It’s okay to think or say something positive about yourself such as, “My hair turned out great, today.” Not ready for that? How about, “Wow, isn’t it a beautiful morning?”

Do this often enough and notice the change in your self-perception.

- Be your own BFF.
When is the last time you were self-critical? Just this morning, ah? Yet, you have no problem speaking up for a friend or co-worker, right?

Lack of self-esteem can hold you back and also invite criticism from others. Do yourself a favor and stick up for yourself and be your own best friend.

It's time to stop putting yourself down. Instead, look at your reflection every day and say, “You are wonderful person.” Eventually, with enough practice, you'll believe it.

Sources and further reading:

U.S. News & World Report - Health - Health News - Talking About Weight Tied to Poor Self-Image, Depression: Study.
Web. 30, March, 2012

EmpowHer - Wellness -Weight Loss - Does Fat Talk Affect Body Image? - HER Daily Dose. Web. 30, March, 2012

Vibrant Nation – What Women 50+ Know - Family & Relationships – So, where are you on the Flirtability Scale? Web. 30, March, 2012

Reviewed March 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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