In the journey of life, we often encounter moments of self-doubt, adversity, and emotional turmoil. The negative thoughts and emotions that arise during these times can have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing. However, there is a powerful tool at our disposal that can counteract these negative forces and promote resilience: positive self-talk. By adopting a habit of encouraging and compassionate inner dialogue, we can enhance our mental strength, boost self-esteem, and promote overall wellbeing.

Below, we explore the importance of positive self-talk and its role in fostering positive mental wellbeing, with a particular focus on its relevance in preventing young suicide.

Understanding the impact of self-talk

Self-talk refers to the internal conversation we engage in with ourselves daily, the messages we consciously or unconsciously send ourselves. Negative self-talk can reinforce feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair, exacerbating vulnerability to suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, positive self-talk holds the potential to reframe one’s perspective, foster resilience, and instil a sense of hope and purpose. It encompasses our thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions about ourselves and the world around us. Positive self-talk involves consciously adopting optimistic, supportive, and compassionate language when addressing ourselves.

Challenging negative beliefs

Negative self-talk often stems from deep-rooted beliefs and self-perceptions developed over time. By identifying and challenging these negative narratives, we can start to reshape our thinking patterns. For example, replacing thoughts like “I always mess up” with “I am learning and growing from my mistakes” can shift our perspective and encourage self-compassion. Those battling suicidal thoughts may perceive themselves as burdens, failures, or unworthy of love and support. By consciously countering these destructive beliefs with compassionate and rational thoughts, we can interrupt the downward spiral and open up new possibilities for healing and recovery.

Cultivating self-compassion

Self-compassion is a fundamental aspect of positive self-talk. It involves treating ourselves with kindness, understanding, and acceptance, especially in times of difficulty. Instead of berating ourselves for perceived failures, we can practice self-compassion by acknowledging our efforts, embracing our imperfections, and offering ourselves words of encouragement. Self-compassion plays an important role in suicide prevention. Often, those struggling with suicidal ideation are excessively critical of themselves, lacking self-acceptance and understanding. Positive self-talk encourages a shift towards self-compassion, allowing people to treat themselves with kindness and empathy. By practicing self-compassion, we can develop a stronger sense of self-worth and resilience, diminishing the allure of self-destructive thoughts.

Building resilience

Positive self-talk plays a vital role in building resilience, which is crucial in navigating life’s challenges. By nurturing a mindset of optimism and resilience, we can view setbacks as temporary hurdles and opportunities for growth. Encouraging phrases such as “I have the strength to overcome this” or “this difficult period will pass” can empower us to persevere through difficult times. Positive self-talk can be instrumental in bolstering resilience by fostering a sense of empowerment, hope, and determination. By consciously reminding ourselves of past successes, strengths, and the potential for growth, we can navigate through challenging times with greater resilience and a belief in their ability to overcome adversity.

Tools for positive self-talk

  1. Mindfulness and meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation allows us to observe our thoughts and emotions without judgement. It helps create space for self-awareness, allowing us to consciously redirect negative self-talk towards positive and uplifting narratives.
  2. Affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements that we repeat to ourselves, reinforcing desirable beliefs and attitudes. By regularly affirming our strengths and capabilities, we can gradually reshape our self-perception and bolster our self-confidence.
  3. Seeking support: Positive self-talk is not a substitute for professional support or therapy. It is, however, an invaluable complement to such interventions. Encouraging people to seek appropriate help while simultaneously harnessing the power of positive self-talk can enhance the effectiveness of treatment and provide an ongoing source of strength and motivation.


Suicide prevention demands a multi-faceted approach that addresses the complexities of mental health challenges. Incorporating positive self-talk as a core element in this framework offers us a powerful means to counter negative thoughts, develop resilience, and foster hope. By promoting self-compassion and challenging destructive beliefs, we empower ourselves and others to confront adversity with strength and determination. As we collectively strive to prevent suicide, let us recognise the significance of positive self-talk as a tool that can save lives and restore hope.

If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide and need a safe non-judgmental space to talk. PAPYRUS is here for you. Call HOPELINE247 for free, confidential advice and support on 0800 068 4141, text 88247 or email from 9am to midnight every day of the year.
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