Saturday , 13 April 2024
Saturday , 13 April 2024

Inner voice: your friend or foe

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  • 07 Oct, 2022

Inner voice: your friend or foe

Have you ever wondered that we do a lot of self-talking all the time? We all do. This kind of self-talks make a huge difference in our lives sometimes for better and sometimes for worst. What matters is the kind of self-talk that you do on regular basis. Our unconscious mind is impacted by the words we say just in the same way when other people talk to us. Thus, how we speak to ourselves is a powerful tool in our hands which can make us or destroy us. The power of self-talk is underutilized most of the times. However, there are resources available to master this art to improve our mind and lives.  Our thoughts leave a deep impact on our feelings, choices and actions. Positive self-talk is an effective stress reduction tool from correcting negative thoughts to coping in difficult stressful times. Positive self-talks can literally change our lives, if you are struggling with negative thoughts and want to be kinder to yourself.

What is self-talk and how it can help?

Self talk is your inner dialogue which you have with yourself. If you mostly self talk positively about yourself, you will feel good and optimistic most of the time. Self-talk is the way you talk to yourself, or your inner voice which can be both positive and negative. This inner voice combines conscious thoughts with inbuilt beliefs and biases to create an internal monologue throughout the day.  Self-talk is a healthy way to build motivation or analyze a difficult situation. It is absolutely normal and healthy to talk to yourself as it can prove to be a very powerful silent tool to calm yourself down in case of a complicated situation. We talk to ourselves for many reasons and this generally occurs when we are experiencing a deepened emotion such as anger, nervousness, extreme focus or excitement. Your self-talk can affect your mental health and relationships with others. If you mainly think negatively about yourself, you will feel bad most of the time. This can mentally and physically drain you out.

In the same we way we seek trusted friends to share our ideas with; we talk to ourselves for many reasons. If we speak out loud, it forces us to slow down the thought process and we process them differently because our language becomes our primary focus. Talking to yourself forces you to be more alert in case you are nervous or feeling an extreme emotion. For example, feeling nervousness before a meeting can help you process what you’re feeling and better prepare for the events to come. It improves our higher order cognitive and meta-cognitive skills which is a fundamental part of self-mastery. What we say to ourselves, when we say it and how we say, has a tremendous impact on our self-esteem, beliefs about self-efficacy and a feeling of self-worth.

What is negative self-talk and how can self-talk affect your mental health?

Negative self-talk is when your inner voice is excessively negative, sounding more like a critic. It focuses on the bad and is pessimistic. It can rip off your confidence and stop you from reaching your potential. It can also make you feel like you have failed a task even before you start. No matter how hard we try, negative self-talk does happen and repetitive negative self-talks do not reflect reality. Negative self-talk can make it more difficult to deal with chronic pain and can lead to depression and anxiety in a person.  It can also affect a person’s sexual confidence and body image. It can be very hard to get back up of you are stuck in the process of repetitive negative self-talks. For that reason, it’s important to be aware when it happens and to actively channelize your thoughts into positive ones. Use positive self-talks to your advantage to get out of the trap of negative self-talks. Just be aware of what you are saying to yourself and why. Stopping and recognizing the thought process there itself is the first step. Replace the thought with a neutral and positive thought. It can take some time to recognize your negative thoughts as they have been a part of you for a long time and it can take more than 3-6 months to change old habits. That being said, it is not as difficult as it seems to be.

How to overcome negative thoughts and channelize them into positive ones?

Practice thinking good things about yourself. Identify your strengths as part of your self-talk process. Compliment yourself for what you have achieved so far and prepare for what’s next. To look, think and act in a positive way is a helpful way to improve positive self-talk. Surround yourself with positive and optimistic people. If you find negative self-talk overwhelming, talk to your doctor about it. They can help you and refer you to a mental health professional who can work with you.


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