A Closer Look at Your Inner Dialogue: How Toxic Thinking and Negative Self Talk Impacts Your Physical and Mental Health

What you think can affect your health to a greater degree than you might realize. “Negativity can actually change your brain chemistry,” says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, author of “Habits of a Happy Brain.”

She notes that when people default to negative thinking, there is an increase in levels of cortisol -the hormone responsible for the body’s stress response. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol put your body at increased risk of numerous health problems.

Not only do your thoughts have the potential to affect your physical health, your internal messages greatly influence the way you feel about yourself. These messages have a powerful effect on your overall self image.

If you’re noticing that the messages you give yourself have become demeaning, irrational, negative, harsh, or offensive, it’s time to identify, explore, and evaluate these messages. I encourage you to work toward making a positive shift. With intention and practice, allow those messages to become kind, gentle, compassionate and loving.

To put this into practice right now, write five messages specifically for you to help create a healthy self-esteem. Take those messages and write them down in a journal, put them on a sticky note where you will frequently see them, say the messages out loud to yourself as you start your day, or find another creative way to incorporate them into your daily life.

Establishing new ways to talk to yourself will help you develop a healthy self-esteem. With a healthy self-concept, you are more likely to maintain positive relationships with others, and you will be more prepared to cope with life’s challenges with resilience and optimism.


Written by: Michelle Rathburn