Everybody talks to themselves. Is your self-talk supporting you or stressing you out?
I have had clients who denied that they talked to themselves. Others worried that self-talk was not normal or meant they might be “crazy”.
Self-talk is normal and it can create more stress or help you live a happy life. If your self-talk is not contributing to your happiness, this post is for you.
What is self-talk?
Our self-talk is the internal dialog we have with ourselves. It is a running commentary we have about our lives. It is a lot like a sports commentator describing and evaluating every play. The difference between you and the athlete is that you get to hear all of this commentary in real time.
It can seem like your self-talk is there to point out every little mistake and constantly judge you.
What if your self-talk could help you to be happier?
I like to tell stories because they speak to your unconscious mind. This story is going to help you reframe your self-talk.
Could you image that you have this radio? Every day, all day long, it plays the same station. It just so happens that this is not your favorite station. In fact, it is a station that you don’t like at all. What station would that be for you? Talk radio? Classical? Heavy metal?
One day a friend drops by and asks why your radio is tuned to that station. Your friend says, “Why don’t you change the station?” And your friend reaches over and tunes your radio to your favorite station.
Could it be that simple?
You can choose
Yes, it can be that simple. This is your self-talk and you can change the station.
How do you know which station to pick?
First of all, your self-talk is there to help you. You want to thank your self-talk for all the years of service. Now, is there a way for your self-talk to be even more helpful? Instead of motivating you with negative messages, could it encourage you with positive messages?
Here’s an example. You made a mistake at work. Negative self-talk might be: “You’ve messed up again. You can’t do anything right. Everybody will think you are stupid.” Positive self-talk would go something like this: “This didn’t turn out like I expected it to. What can I do to make this right? How can I avoid this in the future? I learn from my mistakes.”
You are not ignoring the mistake; you are just not beating yourself up.
Would your stress level be lower if you started motivating yourself with positive messages?
How to change your self-talk
Here is an experiment to help you change your self-talk. Do you know someone who has a great way of encouraging and motivating others? This could be someone you know, someone you listen to on TV or the internet, or even a character in a movie.
Pay attention to the message as well as their voice quality. Do they sound calm or are they more up-beat? Spend a minute imagining what this person sounds like.
Now, ask your self-talk if it would be willing to try out this new voice. If you’ve never talked to your self-talk, this may sound odd. Give it a try.
If your self-talk seems resistant, make sure you put a time limit on the experiment: one day, one week. Remind your self-talk you are not making it go away. You are finding ways for it to help you even more.
What is the first thing you will notice when you start feeling less stressed?
Want more information?
If you want to read more about health and happiness, you can download my free report, “7 Lies You’ve Been Told About Health and Happiness”. Look the side bar or at the end of this blog.
You can find more free reading if you click on “Are you to new to the site?”
Let me know how you like your new self-talk.
(Image: nick goodrun)