Positive Self-Talk and Your Health

Written by Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC

The news is in, folks: Being kind to yourself is good for your health. Yes, self-compassion and positive self-talk are healthy ways to pass the time.

According to the very prestigious Mayo Clinic, positive self-talk can provide numerous benefits, including decreased depression, improved resistance to illnesses like the common cold, and even less risk of death from heart disease. Who wouldn’t like that?

The Mayo Clinic also says that stress can increase blood sugars, thus exacerbating symptoms of diabetes. And the American Diabetes Association makes it clear that increased levels of various stress hormones in your bloodstream (e.g. cortisol), can pump up your blood sugars, as well.

Negative Self-Talk Blues

So if you’re consistently engaged in negative self-talk and negative thinking, do you think that your stress levels rise? If you focus on the bills that are due, worries about the future, and problems in the past, won’t your body respond in kind?

You see, your body can’t really tell the difference between the moment of an actual argument or you reliving the argument in your mind. Have you ever gone over an altercation in your mind, and then found yourself with a racing heart, shortness of breath, a blaring headache, and an aching neck? Well, I’m not saying you should avoid negative thinking, but if you don’t regularly and consistently counteract those negative thoughts with something more positive, your body will remain in a state of stress.

That negative self-talk can lead you to a very stressed state, and your body will simply follow your mind into the muck and mire.

Show Some Compassion

Do you feel compassion for people who’ve been hurt in a shooting or injured in a train wreck? Do you feel badly for your neighbor whose mother just died? Can watching a YouTube video of a cat receiving life-saving surgery fill your heart with compassion? Great! You’re a feeling human being.

Now, can you turn that same compassion and caring on yourself? Can you see your own hurts, injuries, and injustices in the same light? Can you fill your heart with self-compassion?

Being able to beam love, forgiveness, and compassion toward yourself is a skill, and it can be learned. Some of us may feel guilty or stupid doing so, but what could be better than lavishing yourself with forgiveness for saying something mean to a colleague, yelling at your son, or running over a squirrel on a busy road? If you can’t forgive yourself, how can accept anyone else’s forgiveness?

Try It, You’ll Like It

So, if this seems difficult or impossible for you, try it, and if it doesn’t work, you can blame me. Self-compassion and positive self-talk take practice, and it’s a great thing to become very adept at!


Turning around negative thinking and negative self-talk is in the best interests of your health and well-being. Be aware of when you’re going negative, turn those thoughts around, and train yourself to be kind to yourself. You can’t really go wrong, and you just might feel better! 

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Depression and Diabetes