Self-talk is our inner voice that we may or may not be aware of. Our self-talk is entwined with our emotions – when we are in a good mood, the positive thoughts become more frequent and intense. And when we experience emotional distress, the negative thoughts dominate our mind. In turn, our inner voice impacts how we feel and what we do.
Self-talk is the way our brain processes our experiences, combining our conscious thoughts with our unconscious beliefs and cognitive biases.
How to take Advantage of Your Inner Voice?
Positive self-talk is a useful tool in boosting your confidence, for example. To bolster your inner voice, practice thinking positive things of yourself. Identify your strengths and praise yourself for what you achieved as part of your self-talk.
Positive thoughts and beliefs often start with positive self-talk. This endless stream of your inner dialogue may be mostly positive or typically negative. Research suggests that health benefits of positive thinking and optimism may improve self-esteem, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, help you better cope with stressful situations, and increase your life span.
Forms of Self-talk
There are a few categories of thoughts that commonly occur as part of negative self-talk. These include:
Catastrophizing. This common cognitive distortion occurs when you automatically anticipate the worst-case scenario of the future. Catastrophizing is filled with negative self-talk that usually intensifies anxiety and depression.
Personalizing. Blaming or personalizing is a tendency to automatically blame yourself when something bad occurs.
Filtering. You blow up the negative aspects of a situation while filtering out all the positive ones.
Polarizing. You are unable to see a middle ground of things – all things are either good or bad.
People with anxiety and depression often use negative self-talk, swirling around negative rumination, which further worsens their well-being.
How to Stop Negative Self-talk?
To challenge the negative inner critics, be aware of what you are saying to yourself. Also, put your thoughts into perspective and ask yourself is what you think true. Finally, try to find the more constructive thoughts.
Here are some ways to turn negative self-talk into positive thinking.
Focus on Areas to Change
To enforce positive self-talk, identify the areas of your life that you usually think negatively about and try approaching them in a more positive way.
Practice Positive Self-talk
Be encouraging and supportive to yourself. Counter negative thoughts with positive affirmations of yourself and your abilities.
Think about things you are grateful for in your life. Keep a gratitude journal – this will boost your optimism and life satisfaction.
Evaluate Your Thoughts
Periodically, stop and check what you are thinking. If your self-talk is mainly negative, try to replace them with positive thoughts.
Keep Up a Healthy Lifestyle
Make sure to exercise at least 30 minutes at least few times a week. Physical activity can positively affect your mood, reduce stress, and distract you from negative thinking. Follow a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Surround yourself with positive people and engage in enjoyable activities.
With practice, you will become less critical of yourself – your self-talk will contain more self-acceptance and less self-criticism. Positive self-talk will lead to generally optimistic state of mind which can positively affect your overall well-being.