Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Wellbeing

Understanding self-talk – why the way you speak to yourself matters

03 October, 2017

What is self-talk?

According to Reachout Australia, self-talk is the way you speak to yourself. It’s the voice in your mind that says things that you don’t say out loud. We all have this voice, but we don’t always realise it’s talking away in the background. Sometimes it has useful things to say and reminds us of important details, tasks or events, but other times it says things that can be harmful to our self-concept.  

Negative self-talk

While it’s hard to be positive and upbeat all the time, if your self-talk is generally negative, it’s likely that you won’t feel very good about yourself. If the voice in your head is constantly putting you down, or making you doubt your abilities, it can wear down your self-esteem over time.

Negative self-talk can include statements like:

  • “I always make mistakes”
  • “I should be doing so much better than I am”
  • “everyone must think I’m stupid”

The good news is that negative self-talk is simply a bad habit that you can unlearn.

If you break cycle of negative self-talk, you’ll reduce your risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm and even suicide.

Positive self-talk

If you generally speak to yourself in a caring, understanding and optimistic way, you’re likely to feel better about yourself. When you have a positive relationship with yourself, you’re likely to be a lot more resilient to stress and adversity in everyday life.  

Positive self-talk can include statements like:

  • “I’m doing the best that I can”
  • “I know I’m capable and that I’ll make it through this challenge”

Challenging your self-talk

If you notice you’re regularly talking yourself in a negative way, Reachout Australia list three main steps you can take:

  1. 1. Listening to your self-talk

    Even the simple act of acknowledging your inner voice and taking note of what you’re saying is a great start. Check to see if what it’s saying is generally positive or negative. It can be a good idea to note down some of the things it’s saying each day.

  2. 2. Challenging your self-talk

    If you notice your self-talk is generally negative, Reachout Australia suggest asking yourself the following questions:

    • what is the evidence for and against my thinking?
    • am I jumping to conclusions?
    • how can I find out if what I’m thinking is actually true?
    • are there any other ways I can look at this situation?
    • what else could this mean?
    • if I were being positive, how would I view this situation?
    • what’s the best possible outcome for this situation?
    • is there anything good about this situation?
    • will this matter to me in five years’ time?
    • is this way of thinking helping me to achieve my goals?
    • what can I do that will help me solve the problem?
    • is there something I can learn from this situation?
  3. 3. Changing your self-talk

    To change the way you talk to yourself, it can be helpful to start by making a list of your strengths. You can also make a list of challenges in your life that you overcame and a list of people in your life that you know value your worth. You can draw on these lists when you notice your self-talk is starting to become negative.

Where to get more help

Getting support now

If you or someone close to you needs support now, there are phonelines and websites available. These services are free.

For immediate help in a crisis:

For general mental health support:

Seeing your GP

If you have concerns about your mental wellbeing, it’s best to see your GP.

When you see your GP, they can:

  • assess your mental health
  • prescribe some medications for anxiety or depression
  • refer you to a mental health professional if necessary
  • refer you to other support services

They can also put you on a mental health plan, and this means Medicare may help subsidise up to 10 sessions with a mental health professional. You can learn more about the different types of mental health professionals at Healthdirect Australia.


All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified Health Care Professional.

1911_CBHS Skyscraper Banner-07

Suggested Articles

  • Slice of Eggs on Cakes

    Healthy snacking at home with CBHS nutritionist Chantal

    CBHS nutritionist Chantal Collins has eight tips for creating everyday healthy snacking habits that won’t undo your health and wellness goals.
    • Nutrition
    6 July 2020
  • Member Stories Jake and  Carol

    “You don’t wait when it’s to do with your children”

    When Carol and her son Jake both began experiencing the same cardiac issue, a second opinion with a world-leading doctor helped them find answers.
    • Membership
    22 June 2020
  • Member Stories Danielle

    When your world changes in one week, we’re here

    COVID-19 restrictions have forced many employers to let staff go. Danielle was one of the Australians left with no income, and wondering how to pay the bills.
    • Membership
    22 June 2020
  • A happy couple

    The battle of the sexes: Are Aussie men or women healthier?

    This Men’s Health Week, we look at how healthy our Australian men are, and what their main concerns are. Also, how do men stack up against women in terms of health?
    • Wellbeing
    19 June 2020

What Our Members Think

I joined as a CBHS member in 1978. Through many health events and challenges CBHS has always been there for me and my family. Their exceptional service over this time has always been appreciated.

- Jenny J

What Our Members Think

I've not long joined CBHS from another fund, but so far I've been impressed by the super helpful and friendly staff, the higher claim limits and rebates at a very competitive premium, and how easy it is to lodge manual claims through the app. Thanks CBHS - you've won me over! 😃

- Jessica B

What Our Members Think

What I love about CBHS is their customer service - friendly staff and always ready to help and email you the information you ask about. Keep up the great work!!!

- Linda S

What Our Members Think

I love CBHS as its so so easy to lodge a claim and whenever i need a question answered friendly consultant is one phone call away. The phone back option instead of waiting is brilliant!

- Rachel N

What Our Members Think

I have been with CBHS since I began at CBA 15 years ago...Now I have three beautiful children, one who has a disability. Our top extras cover has been really essential for his early intervention. I do love the ease of claiming online.

- Annette E

What Our Members Think

I am relatively new to CBHS and am loving it already. I worked for a CBA subsidiary a long time ago but was still eligible to join. So much better that the for-profit funds - our premium is only a little more and we pay a lower co-contribution and get great benefits. I am loving the massage rebate for my partner and gym rebate for me!

- David G

What Our Members Think

I'm extremely happy with CBHS! I have been a customer for about six years. I think the price is reasonable. And i would refer you to my family and friends any day. Thank you CBHS!!!

- Karen W

What Our Members Think

Love CBHS as I never have to doubt that they've got my back when I need it. Been through other insurers who have limited options or limits, yet cost the same or more.

- Mark F