Oftentimes, people think of talking to yourself as an activity reserved for people who have lost touch with reality. In actuality, everyone talks to themselves at all waking hours of the day. This internal dialogue often goes unnoticed because it takes place inside our heads, yet it is one of the biggest determinants of your mood, perception, and self-esteem. Thus, taking control of the way you talk to yourself could change your life.
Self-talk does not mean audibly saying things for only yourself to hear. Instead, it refers to the ceaseless cycle of thoughts that guide your perception of reality throughout the day. For example, if an employee fails to complete a task you assigned to them, you may say to yourself, “this person is incompetent.” Or if you are struggling to learn a new hobby, you may think “I’m not good at anything.”
Positive self-talk is not as easy as telling yourself “everything is awesome,” and “I am the best.” As Beverly Flaxington, behavioral psychologist, said in our Interior Motions exclusive interview with her, “your brain will not believe you if you put a simple rose-colored filter on life. It will dismiss those thoughts and return to its negative downward spiral.” Therefore, it is helpful to analyze the root of the thoughts themselves. More often than not, you will find that your negative thoughts stem from a completely different incident that is irrelevant to your current circumstance. The thought that your coworker is incompetent might actually be misdirected frustration over the fact that construction outside your building kept you up all night. Feelings of not being good at anything may stem from the fact that you have been struggling with your self-esteem since moving to a new city. It is impossible to resolve an issue if you are unaware of the problem, so identifying the root of your negative thoughts will better steer you to the right course of action.
Once you have determined why you are thinking in a negative manner, you can begin to make a positive shift. Here are some examples of positive alternatives to say when you begin to experience negative thoughts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, practicing positive self-talk can have a number of physical and mental health benefits. These may include:
As you can see, there is a lot of power in the way you talk to yourself. It may take time and effort to uproot the negative thought processes that are so deeply embedded in your mind, but the payoff is worth it. Be kind to yourself!
Also read: Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance