How often do you find yourself talking to yourself, or having the inner voices in your head?
For me, it is all the time, consciously or unconsciously.
My mind is so active! Not only that, there seem to be many personalities doing the talking. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes playful, sometimes so harsh and bitter. The little world in my mind can be so chaotic at times like a mini theatre playing.
It’s okay to have many thoughts inside our heads and have inner dialogues. However, we need to understand that self-talk actually plays a more crucial role to our brain and well-being than we thought.
It can ONLY be beneficial to us when it’s done in the right way.
First, let us get to know the inner voice a little bit more.
What are the few types of self-talk you can identify or you are mindful about?
Take me as an example. I am a perfectionist and someone who follows a strict routine. Most of my self-talks include talking (or inner talking) about my plans, what I am going to do next, and plans for tomorrow. There are also a lot of critical voices in my head, with some happening without me even aware of it.
Generally, self-talk can come in 3 forms:
Instructional self-talk includes “I should get to this task now.”, or “Calm down, slow down.” etc.
These forms of self-talk have the purpose of guiding us towards certain actions or directions. It can increase our attention and focus. If we speak it out loud, it can further help us get the action done more effectively.
Positive self-talk includes motivational self-talking, such as “I can do it!”, “I am doing it really well!”, “I am feeling awesome!”.
These forms of self-talk can boost our confidence and make us feel better. It can help to calm our emotions when we are having a troubled and anxious mind, especially when our brain is highly sensitive.
Negative self-talk includes inner criticism, which is our main focus talk about today. This form of self-talk includes blaming yourself, doubting yourself, or thinking others might have a bad opinion of you. These voices can be critical, mean, and harsh.
Not just that these negative self-talks do not do any good for us, but they can further reduce our level of self-esteem, and confidence. It will even pile up our negative emotions.
Even though some of us are aware of these consequences, we seem not able to control them when our mood is all down. These thoughts come in intrusively, repetitive and uncontrollable.
How can we stop the negative self-talk?
Today, I will share 4 ways we can start to practice today to stop these inner critics.
1. Be mindful of your self-talk and record them down
Before we are making any changes, you need to first be mindful of what is going through your mind daily. When you are having an internal dialogue again, notice it and record it down.
What goes through your mind and what form it is. Are these self-talk positive, negative, or instructional?
I would recommend having a mindfulness journal to keep track of your self-talk and inner activities. You will have a new discovery about yourself!
Through penning down all the self-talk, you will realize how critical you have been to yourself, and how much negativity you have given to yourself every day.
The journal could also be a good way to keep track of your progress and help you to be more mindful of your inner activities.
I have prepared a free printable all-in-one mindfulness journal for our subscribers. You can collect by subscribing below, or reading more about it here.
The form you have selected does not exist.
2. Prepare a list of positive self-talk phrases and practice them
It’s not easy to change instantly. I completely understand!
Sometimes I am so in my own head, and I just can’t help myself regardless of how much I want to stop these negative self-talk. It’s almost impossible to switch to positive thinking immediately when you are feeling all negative.
So I prepared a list for myself of the positive self-talk phrases I could use in daily life. Whenever I sense the inner critics are here, I flash out the list and read them, practice them, and get them soaked in my head.
3. Treat yourself like a friend and talk to yourself in the third person
If you feel talking to yourself in a positive way is difficult, think of talking to yourself as a friend. Always remember that YOU are your most reliable partner.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself how good you look. When you are feeling lonely, tell yourself that “I will always be here with you and I love you dearly”.
It’s nothing weird. You should love yourself! To fall in love with yourself first is the first step to happiness. Treat yourself like how you treat your best friend.
You can address yourself in the third person such as calling out your name or nickname when you are having self-talk, such as “Jen, you have done an amazing job!”, “You are getting calmer each day Jen, Good Job!”.
In this way, you provide a psychological distance between yourself and your thoughts. This would help you to view yourself and the situation you are in with a calmer mind and more rationality.
4. Lastly, just say “Stop”!
This works for me almost 100% of the time. Whenever I sense I am having negative self-talk. I will just say to the inner critics in my head – “ Stop it!”
The negative voice is silenced instantly and l am able to regain my focus on whatever I am doing again.
You have to look at your thoughts as a separate entity sometimes. Don’t let your thoughts carry you away, instead, tell those negative thoughts to stop.
Try out these tips today to change the old way of thinking, replace the negative self-talk with positives, and always, be patient with yourself!
Share with me in the comments below on what you do to stay positive when you are having a bad day.
If you would like to receive a Weekly Calm Reminder from me, do subscribe to the Newsletter! I'll come by your inbox every Tuesday with a little boost for you to move through the week with calm and energy!