There are two types of self-talk, explains an article in The New York Times. One is instructional self-talk, and the other is motivational self-talk. Several studies show that both instructional and motivational self-talk help athletes perform better. Positive self-talk has been identified by Dr. Christopher M. Carr in his research as a technique that can help improve focus in sports competitions. However, negative self-talk is disadvantageous to sports performance, according to a study published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology.

Negative self-talk was described by wellness coach Elizabeth Scott, MS on Verywellmind as “any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and your own abilities, and reach your potential.” She lists down the consequences of negative-self talk: limited thinking, perfectionism, feelings of depression, and relationship challenges.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine on Sharecare says that negative self-talk also increases anxiety and fear, plus it also causes the muscles to tense up. The first step to control negative self-talk is awareness, as most of the time, these are habitual or automatic thoughts according to Ciaran Dalton Psychology, LLC.

Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her left arm when she was 13 years old due to a shark attack, did not allow her disability to prevent her from pursuing her surfing career. She did not let negative thoughts stop her. Instead, she went back to surfing one month after the accident and competed in the NSSA national championships a year later. She used her circumstances as an opportunity to inspire others and found purpose in helping others, according to The Guardian.