by Scarlett Sykes
Very. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have, but for most of us it’s one that we rarely dedicate time to.
It's a topic I have thought about a lot recently. I am guilty of falling in to a trap of negative thoughts, it's almost easier (especially if you suffer from the good old Imposter Syndrome) to convince yourself that you aren't good at something or might fail, because it feels like telling yourself that will be less disappointing than saying you can do it and failing, right? But it isn't that simple. Alot of what we internalise effects everything we do, not just the challenging things but the way people perceive us and even how we parent and treat our friends/loved ones.
Self-talk is your running inner voice. It’s everything you’re thinking but not saying out loud. The thoughts carry on in the background without us consciously controlling it, but it’s one of the biggest influence on how we feel about who we are and how we live our lives.
Have you ever caught yourself having critical thoughts or telling yourself you can’t do something without even trying? We are all guilty of this. Some days or weeks are worse than others depending on what you have going on, but it is a daily activity that we have more control over than we realise.
There are many benefits to increasing positive self-talk. Research has found it can improve our overall mood, performance at work and anxiety. Positive thinkers have the ability to cope better when facing difficult situations, make good mentor’s, as they are able to see the positive aspects of people to support them, and generally have a more positive outlook on life.
Obviously, no one is saying that you will never have a negative thought again and that everything should be lovely and positive everyday, but small steps in increasing the positive Self-Talk will have a huge impact on your life. The best (and easiest) way to think about it is – Would you speak to your friends the way you speak to yourself? What would you say to them if they had negative thoughts or talked badly about themselves?
3 ways to increase positive self-talk:
Tune in – this takes practice and an effort on your part to remember, but try really tuning in to what you are saying to yourself daily. Start writing down what your inner voice says to you – is it positive, is it negative. Keep track for a week or more to gauge how you really ‘Self-Talk’
Challenge the narrative – Is what your self-talk says really how you feel? Again, would you say the same to a close friend or relative if they were in the same situation?
Change - It’s time to increase the positivity and let go of some negative thoughts. Start by listing positive things you like about yourself and when your self-talk starts any negative thoughts just try replacing it with one of your positive ones
Changing your Self-Talk narrative takes a lot of practice. It’s not going to happen overnight and can take some time to get the hang of it. Try to remember to stay tuned in, as this is one of the most powerful tools that we all have, to truly change how we live our lives.
Give it a go…