The Importance of Self-Talk

Written by Do I Editorial

Take a minute and think about all the monologues that go in your head while you are running in the morning or driving to work. Does the thinking help you improve your efficiency? Do the thoughts enhance your confidence? Is the thinking in your best interest? You will be surprised at the answers you get. You have so much time to think and run things over in your head that it can either make you or break you.

Believe it or not but most of the times you don’t really need a competitor to beat you. You can do all that on your own, in your own head, by saying negative, demoralizing things to yourself. You can either be your best friend or your worst enemy – the choice is completely yours. It is very black and white – positive self-talk can improve your performance to a large extent whereas negative self-talk will take you down the drain.  Positive self – affirmations develop a secure attitude towards your performance and perpetuate your capabilities. Negative, self- destructive thoughts just confirm your fears and doubts which are highly poisonous for your mental well-being.  It is just setting you up for wretchedness. The bottom line: you need to control your thoughts or they will control you.

Positive self-talks are simple but highly powerful statements that are responsible for enhancing your self-image, improving your self-confidence and developing a secure mental attitude. For example, the great boxer Muhammad Ali always kept affirming to himself “I am the greatest” to boost his mental attitude. Some other examples are:

“I am relaxed”

“I have the ability to be successful”

“I can and I will”

Self-talk can be second nature to some people but many individuals don’t really know how to turn up their mental volume in order to be more aware. If you are not conscious of the inner monologues that you carry out, keeping a check on them and improving them can be a Herculean task. However there are numerous ways that you can use to help you out in this situation. For example, at random times of the day, stop and take account of the inner monologues going on within you and note them down on a piece of paper along with the circumstances and feelings associated with them.  Keep the notes uncensored to the extent possible; your motive is to refine your self-talk accurately once you have got them written.  Uncomfortable moods and emotions like anxiety, stress and depression can act as cues to conduct this experiment more successfully. Assess what you have been saying to yourself and why.

Your response to your inner conversation makes all the difference. Remember the positive facets and use them where your thoughts are negative and self- criticizing. For the negative thoughts that you have discovered, assess how they are wrong, then argue with yourself to rectify the errors and construct challenges for your erroneous  assumptions and beliefs. (If I am such a bad person, why do my friends still call me to get together?). Next, replace your flawed talks with more positive affirmations. When you are truly aware, the kind of internal conversations you carry out are much easier to edit; revise the sneering voices into more empowering phrases which will help you manage your actions and reactions more amicably in the current situation. The right kind of self-talk can help you from flipping out after a long wait at a billing counter. It can help you deal suavely with an ignorant boss, stimulate you to work-out and dissolve your anger when the ten-year-old comes back home sodden in mud.

The quality of our inner speech greatly influences our communicating ability with the outside world as well. Basically, a healthy intrapersonal communication is a prerequisite for an efficient interpersonal communication.  Good communication is based on a positive outlook and self-talk prepares the ground for the same. Effective intrapersonal communication prepares the right frame of judgment, orientation and balance in communicating with the outside world.

The quality of self-talk not only affects your mental and emotional well-being but it also has a direct impact on your health. It is a known fact that in today’s fast paced world, stress is responsible for many cardiovascular diseases. Since positive self-talk reduces the level of stress hormones in our body, it progressively helps in reducing the chances of heart problems as well. A research conducted in the Tilburg University concluded that people who have a positive outlook towards life exhibited much lower risk of mortality – at least for the next five odd years. So change your inner speaker to a more positive one and lead a healthier and happier life.

Your inner speech is a powerful device with which you can either paint a beautiful picture of your future or completely shatter it. Since the ancient times, scholars and philosophers have given enough value to the effect of self-talks in a person’s life. The thoughts you keep repeating to yourself slowly and surely start to reflect in your working patterns, your actions and reactions, your habits; eventually, they become an indelible part of your behavior and the person you are. It has been generally observed that a person who regularly indulges in positive affirmations is more likely to have a successful career, a loving family and a healthy body. On the other hand, a person who is more into being self-critical has more reasons to complain on all fronts – money, family, career or health. To shape a bright and colourful tomorrow, all you have to do is make the effort to shift the gears of your inner monologues from negative to positive.

The real strength of self-talk lies in its inherent capability to change behaviors. Simply rectifying your internal programs will merely improve your mood. That is just the temporary benefit. The main motive of examining your inner monologues is to be able to change your actions which are self-defeating. Correct thinking changes your mood, but permanent changes come about only when you change your behavior. So take control of your thoughts and direct them to build a new improved you!

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