“Be mindful of your self-talk. It is a conversation with the universe. You are a being, full of infinite possibilities! Focus your mind with positivity and you will have dictated the direction of your journey, your soul and your being, cascading in infinite abundance.” – Angie Karan
What is self-talk?
You know your inner voice? Those silent conversations you have with yourself? This is what is known as self-talk. Self-talk will be a combination of positive, negative and neutral thoughts.
Examples of positive self-talk include:
- “I can do this.”
- “I am smart.”
- “This is a challenge, but I will complete it.”
Examples of negative self-talk include:
- “I’m stupid.”
- “I can’t do this.”
- “I’m a failure.”
- “I’m worthless.”
Research has shown that the optimum ratio for no stress in your life is two positive thoughts for every negative thought. It then is vitally important to be cognizant of your internal dialogue as it influences not only your feelings, and your behaviors, but also your well-being as a whole.
A wandering mind is a dangerous mind
Considering you have over 50,000 thoughts per day – the majority of which are automatic and below our conscious level, it becomes even more important to ‘observe’ this self-talk. Your mind is a wandering machine. It wanders without you even knowing it:
“Forty-seven percent of the time, the average mind is wandering. It wanders about a third of the time while a person is reading, talking with other people, or taking care of children. It wanders 10 percent of the time, even, during sex.” – James Hamblin, The Atlantic
And a wandering mind can be dangerous. If you fail to stop and analyze the validity of your self-talk, particularly negative self-talk, you compromise your well-being. Through repeated negative self-talk you begin to believe you are useless, worthless and a failure. This dents your confidence and induces stress.
How to improve your self-talk
Improving your self-talk will not happen overnight, as negative self-talk has become a habit from being often repeated over years. But it is possible. It starts with listening to your thoughts.
- Listen to what you are saying
Many of your thoughts are subconscious. It is not an easy task to listen to this subconscious thoughts. Over time – with practice, it is more than possible to access these innermost dialogues. You can do this by taking note of what you are saying. Start journaling. Write them down. Getting your thoughts on to paper frees your mind; allowing you to put things in the past and move forward.
- Monitor what you are saying
Ask yourself whether your self-talk is positive or negative. Negative self-talk is inaccurate, unreasonable and unhelpful. If not monitored, it can become a bad habit.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How does it make me feel?
- Is there evidence for my thoughts?
- Are they reasonable?
- What purpose do they serve?
- You need to take action
Through identifying them, you can challenge them, thus allowing you to approach things differently.
Ask yourself more questions:
- How can I look at this in a positive way?
- How can I change what I am thinking?
- Consider sharing your self-talk with others
Not only does this allow you to vent and free your mind, it can also help you attain a fresh perspective. Looking at something from an outsider’s point of view sheds a new light on your problems.
The internal dialogue will not stop
The internal dialogue within you will never stop. 50,000 thoughts a day is testament to this. But, if you fail to pay attention to these dialogues, you may find that negative self-talk becomes your way of life. Through listening to your inner voice, monitoring your self-talk and taking steps to change your way of thinking, you will be well on your way to a more satisfied life.