The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head
“The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head by Dr. Rachel Goldsmith Turow is an excellent gift for yourself or someone you love to help change the negative self-talk that’s limiting their life experience.”
Our inner dialogue or “self-talk” matters for our overall well-being and mental health. Dr. Rachel Goldsmith Turow provides effective, science-informed tactics to improve our self-talk in her book, The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head.
Well-researched and backed by sound scientific principles, Turow gives step-by-step guidance on how to improve your self-talk. Fair and balanced, Turow’s tenets provide a straightforward method for creating a more positive and helpful inner dialogue.
The author begins her analysis by asking how we became overly self-critical, but she does not stay there long. Rather, she moves her emphasis to the positive aspects of criticism and ways to begin moving toward a gentler, growth-oriented form of self-talk.
Turow carefully measures expectations. The reader and practitioner of her “workout” will not experience ongoing inner bliss or a constant state of joy. Rather, the exercises are meant to undo the practice of years of harmful self-criticism. The goal is to experience a full range of human emotions without undue self-reproach.
It will come as no surprise that Turow begins the workout with breathing. She pulls on decades of evidence and personal experience as a psychotherapist and research scientist showing that breathing exercises help calm excessive emotiveness and self-criticism. Of important note, Turow points readers in the direction of the Buddhist texts from which she borrows insight into the value of breathing exercises.
Turow suggests that the reader use careful self-appraisal to determine the difference between genuine critique meant to improve and harmful criticism. In addition to areas in which we can grow, we also have excellent attributes and items, relationships, or circumstances for which we can be grateful. Balanced appraisal and re-appraisal of ourselves can be a means of changing the negative inner dialogue we may have developed.
The book is filled with useful tips and practical exercises. One such tip is “leapfrogging” or behavioral activation, which is a fancy name for saying doing things when you don’t want to. This is a critical skill to learn when overcoming negative self-talk, because it is connected to feelings and experiences of accomplishment. One can circumvent negative self-talk by doing things that are new, challenging, or simply inconvenient. Turow teaches the reader how.
The author places emphasis on friendliness toward one’s self and lovingkindness meditation. Again, the author takes this concept back to the Buddhist practice and idea of “metta,” the Pali language word for lovingkindness. Becoming a friend to one’s self is a key takeaway in Turrow’s book.
One of the less intuitive but most important strategies Turow outlines is feeling our feelings. Emotions are a natural part of life. It is critical to our well-being, and our inner dialogue, to allow ourselves to feel and process all that we experience.
The Self-Talk Workout is loaded with practical actions to take, called “Core Exercises.” These are designed to lead the reader through the everyday application of each of the book’s strategies. The exercises are practicable and sensible. Additionally, areas where resistance may be met are identified along with ways to address these challenges. The book is replete with reflective questions to integrate learning.
The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head by Dr. Rachel Goldsmith Turow is an excellent gift for yourself or someone you love to help change the negative self-talk that’s limiting their life experience. Or, if you are a supervisor, think about getting a copy for each member of your team, in addition to a holiday bonus, to help them learn how to improve their inner dialogue.