Self talk is that internal dialogue that goes on continuously and throughout our waking hours. The power of words has immense control over our lives, whether spoken loud or quietly inside. They could be supportive and affirming, or they could be critical and harsh.
The words that we speak to ourselves matter. They can direct our thoughts,actions,beliefs, intentions and ultimately the outcomes in our life. While external communication plays an important role in developing social connections,internal communication with self plays a very important role in self development.
Positive inner dialogue makes you feel good about yourself. It’s an optimistic voice that makes you look at the brighter aspects of your life, recognize when you fall, and pick yourself up when you fall. On the other hand, that evil twin in your head ,your negative self-talk, limits your ability to believe in yourself and the reality is completely altered thereby preventing you from reaching your goals. It includes any thought that makes it difficult for you to make any positive changes in your life and affects your confidence .
Research indicates that rumination(repeated thinking) and self blame over past negative events in life are dangerous to your mental health as it can prolong or intensify depression and impair your ability to think and process emotions.
Some effects of negative self talk could be:
Decreased self -esteem through constant self-criticism.
Increased stress in daily life.
Lowered ability to see opportunities and use them.
Greater feelings of helplessness.
Increase in negative behaviors thereby decreased satisfaction in relationships.
Some ways to reduce negative self talk:
Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend and ask yourself the question, if my best friend had this thought, what would I tell them?
Journal your thoughts and feelings regularly – It can help to see the connection between your changing thoughts and feelings . It will also help to remember that thoughts are not always the reality and can change with changes in mood.
Put your thoughts on trial:Find evidence that could support the validity of the thoughts and then find evidence that could be against the validity of the thoughts.
Sometimes simply stopping the array of negative thoughts by visualizing a stop signal or simply changing to neutral thoughts can help.
5. By changing the language of the inner critical voice from being too harsh on yourself, eg. Instead of “I can’t stand it……” to“ I don’t prefer it”. When the negative self-talk is more gentle, its negative power also reduces.
6. Practicing mindfulness- It is an act of focussing our attention on the thoughts and feelings in the present moment in a curious and nonjudgmental way. This in turn reduces negative thoughts about future events and rumination over the past events.
7. Being grateful- Beginning everyday with a positive self statement and focusing on something great about each day.
8. Seeking professional help if the negative self-talk continues to be harsh on you to identify underlying issues.
Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.
MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.
About the Author.
Ruma Choudhury is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.