In 2016 Stride has adopted a new program to help young people challenge and reframe their internal voice. The following article explains why this is necessary, what students can gain from positive self-talk and some strategies to use with young people in their journey towards success.
The power of self-talk
Every day we interpret what is happening around us, to us and within us. Our inner voice plays a huge part in how we understand our experiences and this inner voice is often described as ‘self-talk’. Our self-talk is often guided by our assumptions and beliefs and can enable us to overcome enormous obstacles. It can also hold us back and limit what we think we are capable of. What we say to ourselves about people, situations, achievements, disappointments and ultimately about ourselves determines how we see the world and what we think of our ability to interact with it.
For young people just starting out in their experience of life, what they say to themselves can have a huge impact on their pathway towards adulthood. How a young person behaves socially, emotionally and academically can be enormously impacted by the messages they tell themselves. A young person’s self-talk can be motivating, enabling and positive but it also can be demoralising, limiting and negative.
The difficulty is that self-talk is unseen. Unless the messages young people tell themselves are expressed and challenged, the impact of self-talk may go unnoticed or be misunderstood. During such a sensitive time of social and emotional learning, teenagers are prone to distortions in their perceptions about people and situations. Challenging negative and unhelpful aspects of self-talk can help young people to reframe their thinking and approach situations in a more helpful way. It can help them to interact more confidently with others and enable them to achieve better outcomes at school.
Strategies to enable positive self-talk
Recognising this issue, Gavin Freeman, a performance Psychologist, developed a program to challenge negative self-talk and enable positive thinking in school aged children and teenagers. Gavin has vast experience as a sports Psychologist and a business coach and applied this understanding to working with young people. Gavin has now partnered with Stride who offer his program to schools across Australia.