14 positive self-talk books to boost your confidence

14 positive self-talk books to boost your confidence

In Reading Lists by Molly Hurford

14 positive self-talk books to boost your confidence

Why is it often easier to speak kindly to others than it is to ourselves? Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves and could use a lesson on improving our internal dialogue. If you struggle with practicing self-compassion and want to change that, positive self-talk books are a good place to start. 

Your self-talk — how you speak to yourself — affects your self-esteem, overall wellbeing, and how you view yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you speak to yourself in an uplifting way. 

We couldn’t agree more with Brené Brown, self-help expert/author of The Gifts of Imperfection, who said, “Talk to yourself like someone you love.” Ready to get started on a journey of self-love? We put together a list of books on positive self-talk that will change the way you see yourself.

1. It Starts with Self-Compassion by Celeste Headlee

You wouldn’t talk down to a friend in crisis, so why do you talk to yourself like an a**hole? When you start treating yourself with compassion rather than cruelty, you’ll unlock the secret to lasting happiness. 

This Scribd Original lays out the benefits and best practices of self-compassion so you can extend the same treatment you would offer loved ones as you do yourself. 

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2. Kickstart Your Body Image by Tessie Tracy

You know that scene in Mean Girls where the Plastics are ruthlessly criticizing themselves in the mirror? “My hips are huge! I hate my calves! I’ve got man shoulders!” This is an all-too-accurate portrayal of how negative self-talk can manifest.

There are serious consequences to letting negative body image run unchecked. With empathy and compassion, Scribd Coach Tracy discusses the toll negative self-talk can have on your body image and lays out a practical plan to nurture a healthier body image. 

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3. How to Struggle Better by Michelle McQuaid 

Struggle is inevitable, but with the right tools and mindset, you can turn hard times into opportunities for growth. McQuaid, a wellbeing teacher, combines the principles of positive psychology with research-backed practices that will help you navigate anything life throws your way. 

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4. The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest

What’s stopping you from finally kicking unhealthy habits to the curb? The answer lies in your internal dialogue and beliefs rather than external factors, according to author Wiest. Learn how we often sabotage our own efforts to grow and change and how to get out of the limiting thoughts that destroy our confidence.

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5. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

Personal development expert Bishop wants you to know this: “You’re a fu*king miracle of being.” And honestly, that’s exactly the f*cking positive self-talk we all need. 

If you’re still unconvinced, Bishop will change your mind with his simple and direct assertions. A motivational wake-up call for anyone who feels stuck.

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6. Self Talk by Aston Sanderson

This quick read is one of the best self-talk books out there, especially for someone who’s skeptical about the whole self-talk business. Sanderson gets right to the point: Most of us spend the majority of our time talking down to ourselves, but shifting to a more positive tone will make reaching your goals easier. 

This book has plenty of actionable exercises to help. That’s right: If you can train your brain to think more constructively, positive results will follow.

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7. Self Talk Workbook by Aston Sanderson

If Sanderson’s Self Talk appeals to you, be sure to follow along in the companion workbook. It’s a reflection journal that helps give you tangible tools to take his theories and strategies and apply them to the real world. Taking matters into your own hands (literally, with a pen and paper) will help clarify your thoughts. 

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For a slightly more in-depth view of self-talk and internal dialogue, Helmstetter's book is packed with practical tips for changing that internal narrative. Helmstetter’s research into self-talk has been written about for more than 40 years, and he’s considered one of the early pioneers on the topic. 

After getting a PhD in motivational psychology in the early 1970s, he dedicated his life to researching and helping others understand how our internal chatter affects every area of our lives.

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9. 12 Annoying Monsters by Dawn Meredith

Sometimes, books designed for children can actually enlighten adults, too. That’s definitely the case here. Meredith paints a clear picture to show how self-talk can negatively or positively impact our lives, especially when it comes to anxiety. 

The visualization exercise of linking a “monster” to every negative thought can help you externalize the negative thoughts as something outside of you — and help you learn to ignore them as a result.

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10. How to Be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer

Prefer getting your self-help in a funny memoir format? (Us, too.) How to Be Fine is the often hilarious, but also helpful and insightful, memoir co-written by the hosts of the By the Book podcast. 

The dynamic duo chronicles their journeys in self-help, and while improving their self-talk is only part of their story, it’s interesting to see what a big change it makes. From positive self-talk to meditation to even clearing out clutter, this book is a fun read that makes you think about all the ways, big and small, you can improve your life. 


11. Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein

For many of us, our self-talk comes from a place of judgment: We’re not good enough, smart enough, brave enough, strong enough — you might be familiar with this line of thinking. 

Bernstein offers a six-step program to let those beliefs go. You’ll learn to release lingering resentments (for yourself and others), and how to stop comparing yourself to others, which is one of the major drivers for negative self-talk. 

Skeptics should know this book presses pretty hard into the spiritual side of self-talk instead of a more science-based, cut-and-dry approach.


12. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Negative self-talk is rooted in one major proposition that most of us still believe deep down: That we should be perfect. This idea, Brown argues, is the reason why no matter how much we achieve, we still believe we’re not enough. 

Instead of constantly feeling like we need to be more or accomplish more, what if we embraced imperfections and came to a place of self-acceptance? This New York Times bestseller has been changing lives for well over a decade, and while it’s not the shortest book on the list, you’ll have a hard time putting it down.


13. The Brave Athlete by Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson

This book from an athlete’s perspective uses the lens of personal performance rather than personal growth. Sports psychology is ultimately traditional psychology shifted to the mindset of a performance-focused athlete. After all, what’s a work project if not a finish line you’re hoping to cross? This book makes practicing self-talk and engaging in other stress-relieving exercises a little more palatable. 


14. Quiet Your Mind by John Selby

Simply put, your brain has no idea how to stop ruminating. Even when you’re trying to relax, there’s that nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you there are chores, work, emails, problems, or any other life annoyances that are still present in the background. 

While of course, you can’t ignore work deadlines or household chores, they shouldn’t be intruding on your thoughts every waking moment. Selby argues we need to let go of overthinking and make space for accomplishing so much more.


About the Author: Molly Hurford

Molly is a writer and bookworm in love with all things wellness related. When not playing outside, she’s writing or podcasting about being outside and healthy habits for The Consummate Athlete. She also writes books, including the Shred Girls series. In her spare time, she runs, rides bikes, and hikes with her mini-dachshund and husband.