The Power of Self-Talk

One of the most powerful ‘tools’ you can use is that of self-talk; this is where you talk to yourself as if it were a friend, family member, or coach.  Self-talk allows you to hear perspectives from an outside source.

Self-talk can be done in both the positive and the negative. From a positive perspective, you can say affirmational words, such as ‘I rock’ or ‘I am extremely talented.’ Tony Robbins says to look yourself in a mirror and repeat ‘you are beautiful’ so those words ‘stick’ in your mind and reinforce positive patterns.

Self-talk on the negative side is when you challenge any negative, or derogatory, words or thoughts you are saying to yourself.  Dr. Daniel Amen says to talk to yourself as if a teenager would: “you’re really going to say that you aren’t good enough – remember the time when……..” Disrupting negative patterns will stop this behavior.

However, it’s not enough to stop a negative thought as we need to replace it with a positive. From a neuroscientist perspective, we need three positive thoughts to override one negative which is why the positive words need to come. Consistency is what give mastery, so the more you keep saying positive thoughts the more you will maintain positive habits.

Living in the right side of our brain is what creates a more satisfied and happier life, where you will take risks and move towards your goals and dreams.  Being creative through your passions or coming up with ideas, living in peace and love all elevate your mood and outlook. While you may have adversity, you won’t look at them as doom and gloom but as what they are, which will allow you to find solutions to deal with them and to let them go.

I’ve had clients who have used this technique and find their outlook as happier; they feel less-stressed and calmer. Those annoying co-workers may just be having a bad day vs ignoring them, or getting angry; family members who have hurt us in some way can now be viewed as hurting themselves so their actions are not taken as an attack; past failures can now be forgiven and new resolves to learn from them as the norm.

Self-talk is a powerful tool to use to delete negative patterns and to override fears you have.  An important step is to reinforce new behaviors you’ve developed so when you find yourself in a situation where you are holding back, you can remember a past success.

Our brains tend to hold onto negative thoughts, which then become predictors for the future; using self-talk to challenge that fear, and then remembering a past success, is what will move your forward. For example: as a child, do you remember when you were learning how to ride a bike? You started off with training wheels but then your parent said it’s time to take them off and ride without them; you may have said no, or cried when it was time, because it was scary and you didn’t want to fall. However, you did- but then you got up and tried again and again and, maybe, again, until you got it right.

When you want to learn a new task, and you don’t think you can, go back and remember your experience of learning to ride a bike but the success you had; self-talk comes into play “See, you can do it – you didn’t think you could but you did.” This will change your whole outlook to move you in the direction you want to go.

Start today to use self-talk when you feel challenged and see how it positively impacts your life.  Write down your new achievements as ‘proof’ – you will now be able to work off of them, as your self-efficacy and confidence increases , and to move you through fears that may arise.

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