1. Use the third person
According to a 2017 study from Michigan State University, switching to third-person self-talk helps people control their emotions—and with no extra effort. Researchers suspect that when people refer to themselves in the third person, they think about themselves similar to how they think of others and create psychological distance from their experiences, which helps them regulate their emotions.
2. Ask yourself a question
People who ask themselves whether they’ll perform a task generally perform it better than those who tell themselves they will. In a 2010 study from the University of Illinois, researchers asked two groups to write down either the affirmation “I will” or the question “Will I?” and then perform a task. The group that wrote “Will I?” performed better. The researchers think that when people ask themselves a question, they are more apt to build their own motivation. (Psst: Here’s how to create your own signature affirmation.)
3. Know you can do better
In an expansive 2016 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, more than 44,000 people tested different types of self-talk. The researchers noted that those who told themselves “I can do better next time” performed better than the control group at every task.
Know that you know how to train your brain properly, next learn how to identify, challenge and replace distorted thoughts so you can reach your health and wellness goals.