When a challenging task is coming our way to better approach it and lower our anxiety is it better to say: “I can do this,” or “You can do this,” or “(your name) can do this”? Or does it even matter? Yes, yes it does matter.

Hopefully by now you know from reading this blog or being a subscriber to The Fearless Mind Resource Center that telling yourself that you can do something will help you approach tasks better and will be more likely be successful in whatever you do.
The question a recent scientific study asked was: Does it matter what language we use when we tell ourselves that we “can do it”?

The Answer:

Telling yourself, “YOU can do this,” helps you to approach difficult tasks as challenges not as threats. Also by using non-first person language when telling yourself that you can do something you will perform better than using the first person “I” when telling yourself: you can do it.

Researchers had different groups of volunteers, before performing a task, tell themselves in either first (I) or non-first person (you) that they can do it. Another separate group was not instructed to tell themselves that they can do it, and only instructed to do the task set.
What did they find? Both groups that told themselves that they “can do it” before performing the task performed it much better than the group that didn’t use any self-talk. Further, they found that those that said, “You can do this,” to themselves performed the best out of all the groups.

What does this mean to you:

Positive self talk is a critical mental skill to improve performance rapidly. When we tell ourselves that we can do something our focus heightens, our confidence grows, our anxiety lowers, and we are able to make better decisions.
This skill is especially important when we are under stress or are feeling anxious.
The great thing about this new research is that we now know that by saying, “You can do this” to ourselves magnifies the benefits of positive self talk.


If your are feeling extra anxiety on a daily basis-

Every morning before you go out and perform your daily tasks look in the mirror and tell yourself: “You can do this.” That’s it! Do it everyday and use your mental skills journal in The Fearless Mind Resource Center to keep track of your anxiety levels so that you can see your progress.

When you have an important task or event coming up-

Before and throughout the task (as needed) tell yourself verbally, or just in your mind: “You can do this.” The next step is—go and do it!

Research Article Link 


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