In today’s blog I’m writing about inner self talk – about what it is, what it does, and I am going to give you some easy ways that you can turn your thoughts around starting right now. I also have a downloadable workbook that goes with this blog which I will link to at the bottom of this blog.
Last week’s blog was all about How to Shift Your Mindset, and the first thing I mentioned was inner self talk. I believe that the first thing you need to change if you want to change your mindset is to look at the way you speak to yourself.
First of all, why would you want to change your mindset. To recap, from last week’s blog, mindset is your frame of mind; – the way you are feeling right now – the mood that you are in. That is your mindset. Just check in – how is your mindset right now? Your mindset affects how you feel about your life. Success and happiness are all about mindset, so if you find that you are unhappy in any aspect of your life then your mindset will be at the bottom of it. It affects everything in your life from what you think and feel to how you act and react. A negative, fixed, mindset will hold you back from getting to where you want to be in life. So, in a nutshell, if you want to improve your life then you definitely need to improve your mindset, and I’m here to help you do that and the first thing you need to look at is your inner self talk.
So, what do I mean by inner self talk? It’s the way you speak to yourself in your head. Inner self-talk is the sound track running through your mind.
There are two types of Inner Self Talk, positive/constructive inner self-talk and negative/destructive inner self-talk. Most of our inner suffering and emotional turmoil comes from negative self talk. It is something I have experienced for most of my adult life and I didn’t even know I had any control over it until I learned about this technique some few years ago and even now I have to remind myself and catch myself from time to time.
First of all, let me give you some examples of Negative Inner Self-Talk. Do you ever find yourself criticising yourself for things that you do, or things that you fail to do, or the way that you look when you happen to glimpse your image in the mirror?
Here are some examples of things you might say to yourself:
- “I am not good enough.”
- “I’m going to fail so I won’t bother trying.”
- “I always give up too soon.”
- “I just can’t do it.”
- “I’m not as good as she is. She’s better than me.”
- “There’s no point.”
- “I am not worth it.”
- “I’m not good at this.”
- “People will laugh at me.”
- “I’m just too stupid.”
- “I’m no good with money.”
Are any of those familiar? Basically, negative self-talk is any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and your own abilities, and reach your potential. It is any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in your ability to do so.
I want to get real with you here. This isn’t just a wishy washy theory, you might hear this and think, “well yes that’s all very well but I’ve tried thinking positively and it doesn’t work for me,” but this really matters. Why? Well, scientific evidence shows us that negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness creates chronic stress, and chronic stress upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. Chronic stress decreases our lifespan. Stress can even change our DNA strands which cause us to age more quickly.
That inner voice can be helpful and keep us motivated. However, when it gets into the realm of excessive negativity, it can really bring us down. And I mean REALLY bring us down. It causes significant stress not only to us but to those around us. And it sneaks up on us.
Keep reading for strategies to recognise and change those negative self-talk habits you have.
Carry on with the negative self talk long enough and you will limit your ability to believe in yourself, limit your belief in your abilities, be unable to reach your potential, damage your confidence and self-esteem, increase your stress levels, and stop you from achieving the success in life you deserve. Your motivation will decrease, you may feel helpless and eventually suffer from anxiety and/or depression. It alters your view of reality – it’s like looking through broken glass. You aren’t seeing things for the way they really are – the truth is distorted. You won’t see opportunities around you. These are all consequences of negative inner self-talk.
I am sorry if this sounds depressing, but this is truly the effect of it, and I know first hand how damaging it can be. And the thing is, we can change it! It will require some input on your part, but you can change it. I know this because I have changed it myself, and my clients have changed it. And the bonus is, changing the negative inner self talk changes so many other things.
Our brains love habit, and the more we indulge in negative self-talk the stronger those neural pathways are. The more you hear something the more you believe it. Therefore if you keep telling yourself that you are useless, and not good enough, the more you believe it. The opposite is also true.
I don’t want you to feel like that, and there is another way. Today I am going to give you 6 ways that you can change the habit of negative self talk.
Just a reminder that I have created a downloadable workbook that goes with this video which I will link to in the comments.
Listen The first thing I want you to do is learn to notice when you’re being self-critical so you can begin to change your thoughts. Be an observer to your own thoughts. When you catch yourself, simply observe and note that you are carrying out negative self talk. Simply recognising it is the first step and it is very powerful.
Name it Your Negative Inner voice is just your thoughts. You are not your thoughts. One way to separate yourself from your negative thoughts is to give your inner voice a name. I have a blog called https://suejaycock.co.uk/2018/11/02/8-tips-to-tame-your-inner-gremlin/ 8 tips to tame your inner gremlin which will help you out with this one.
Talk to it When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, you can say to your inner voice, ‘Thank you, I appreciate your attention but I’ve got this and you can relax now.’ I know that sounds daft, but it works!
Change the language When you catch yourself in negative self-talk, it isn’t always easy to turn it around completely. For example, if you are thinking to yourself, “I can’t stand this,” change the language so that it becomes, “I find this challenging but I can cope with it.” Or, ‘I hate this,’ can become ‘I don’t like this but I can cope with it and it will soon be over.’ This is because if we try to say the opposite, such as changing ‘I hate this,’ to ‘I love this,’ then your mind knows this isn’t true and won’t accept it, whereas, if you change the language slightly it takes most of the negative power away.
Be a friend When our inner negative voice is really going for it, it can sound like it hates us. We would never say those things to someone else. I find it helps to say to myself, would I say that to a friend? Imagine saying those things out loud to a friend and if you know that you would never say that, think instead what would you say to a dear friend who was saying those things about herself.
Put it in perspective Another way of looking at negative self talk is to ask yourself will it really matter next year, or in 5 years, or in 10 years. Or zoom out as if you are floating in space looking down from a space ship trying to spot yourself, laying there in your bedroom worrying over the thing that is going round in your head. It helps to show that it isn’t as massive as you might think in the bigger picture of things.
The more you practise these methods, the more habitual and familiar it will become, and your brain likes familiar things so will tend to think more positive thoughts in the future.
Remember, you ARE good enough, you ARE worth it, there IS a point, you ARE loveable, and you CAN change.
Here is the downloadable workbook which goes with this blog.