SELF TALK


 

SELF TALK

You live with an ever-present companion-you! You spend more time with yourself then with anyone else. In face, you spend all your time with yourself. This internal companion talks to you continuously, virtually nonstop even when you're sleeping! As a consequence, you have more influence over yourself and more ability to create your future than anyone else.

This internal companon is you talking to you, inside your mind. You are the creator of your internal environment. You guide yourself, criticize yourself, give to or withhold from yourself, belittle or support yourself. The internal you feels like a distinctly different person speaking to you, but it is really you inside, talking to you.

Begin to pay attention to your self-talk. That's the constant stream of chatter that goes on in your head (and mine, and everyone else's, by the way).

Notice what you say to yourself and how you say it. Do you constantly criticise yourself inside your head ? Or do you constantly criticise others? Or complain about your life, your faults, or how life 'treats' you? Or internally rant about the injustices of life?

Do you constantly tell yourself you're at your wits end? Or that you can't cope with this much longer? Or that you'll fail at something? Or that you're going to have a panic attack?

 

Many will recognize these thoughts because you have heard them all your life; I'm not smart enough, something is wrong, I can't do it, I never finish anything, this is too hard, change takes too long, etc. You may have initially formed these negative ideas about yourself from things you heard initially from a parent, teacher or someone who was in authority over you or they were decisions you made in reaction to some event. Now, as an adult you have incorporated them into your own personality. In effect you don't need those people to tell you what to do anymore, they are living inside your own head!!!

These thoughts surface when you are faced with doing something that is counter to what your mind thinks you can do, or has a negative opinion about. Think back over some times that your own ideas or thoughts about what you could or could not accomplish got in the way of something you really wanted.

Can you imagine if you had someone following you about all day criticizing every single thing that you did? It would literally drive you crazy! Yet this is what we do to ourselves and more often than not we don’t even know we are doing it.

 

The power of self talk

Thoughts precede moods so if you think unhappy thoughts you feel unhappy. Self talk is your thoughts making themselves known to you. Hearing somebody else talking negatively is bad enough so imagine how much more hearing your own inner voice is. If you tell yourself you are a failure, guess what, you will be! If you tell yourself you can succeed then you have a much improved chance of succeeding.

Negative self talk can lead to low self esteem, no confidence or even depression and this leads to more negative thought. A vicious circle.

"I shouldn't have eaten that chocolate cake! I'm so stupid. I'm just a hopeless case. My family stresses me out and undermines my self-control. I'll never get down to a size 10. I should just give up! "

 

What is Self Talk?
Self talk is just what it sounds like: what you say to yourself in your mind. It can be positive, negative, or neutral, and it very strongly affects your relationships, self-esteem, job or athletic performance, mood, and health choices.

How does self talk affect you?
What we say to ourselves becomes what we believe about ourselves. Have you ever thought about something so much that you actually make it happen? ( a self-fulfilling prophecy.)

Negative self-talk can lead to low self-esteem, bad grades, unhappy relationships, and poor performance in sports or other activities.

One way to deal with NST is to stop it before it starts. Begin by gaining an awareness of your negative thoughts and then use a cue (a word or a gesture) to stop it and to clear your mind. So, as soon as you notice a negative thought going through your mind, do something to change your train of thought. For example, you could say the word STOP, snap your fingers, or wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it when you have a negative thought!

Our negative self-talk is pernicious and demoralising and debilitating. And because we are so used to it we don't consciously pay attention to it and therefore do not challenge it. It goes on and on in the background and the effect is that we are giving ourselves powerful hypnotic suggestions to feel bad!

 

 

What is negative self talk?

Focusing only on problems: This is the essence of complaining. We dwell on the problem, instead of solutions. Instead: Assume most problems have solutions, and ask "How do I want this situation to be different?"

Catastrophizing: Every bad thing that happens is a horrible disaster. Instead: Be realistic in your assessment and stop scaring yourself. Yes, bad things do happen, and many bad things are often inconveniences, mistakes, and foul-ups---not necessarily traumas, tragedies, or disasters.

Expecting the worst: "What if he doesn't like me?" "What if I don't pass the exam?" Expecting the worst does not encourage you to behave effectively. Expecting the worst only promotes anxiety. Instead: Ask questions that presuppose positive outcomes. "How can I make a favorable impression?" "How can I prepare for the exam?"

Stereotyping: By putting others, and ourselves, into preconceived categories, we avoid thinking of people as unique individuals. This leads to strained relationships, and gives us an undeserved sense of superiority or inferiority. It also often deprives us of opportunities to know and understand the giftedness of those whom we stereotype. Instead: Remind yourself that we are all human beings, with unique personalities, each having qualities and shortcomings.

Shoulds: Should, ought, must, have to... used carelessly, these words presuppose rules and standards for behavior that do not exist in reality. They imply a consequence for noncompliance, and often evoke quilt. For example, according to the law, we "should" obey posted speed limits, or pay a fine. Is it equally true that "I should be smarter than I am." or "I ought to be married by now."?--Of course not! Instead: Replace the words should, ought, or must with the word "COULD" and realize the gift of choices.

 

Thinking in Absolutes: We exaggerate reality with words like "always," "never," and "everyone," as in "I always eat too much--I will never be slim." Instead: Replace exaggeration with words that more accurately reflect reality. Example "I often eat more than I need, but I can change that."

How you react to a worrisome situation is largely determined by what you tell yourself about it. Through this internal dialogue, you make decisions, set goals, feel happy or sad, relaxed or anxious, hopeful or lost.

 

All or Nothing Thinking: We distort reality by thinking only in extremes. Our efforts become total failures or complete successes---with nothing in between. Example: "Either I lose two pounds by Sunday, or I quit exercising." Instead: Chunk down your perceptions to see the parts of the whole, which can be positive, negative, and in-between. Give yourself options or choices whenever possible. Example: "I want to lose two pounds by Sunday. Even one pound would indicate that exercise is helping. If my weight stays the same, I'll experiment with variations in nutrition and exercise until I reach my goal."

Negative labels: Negative labels are the tools we use to lower self-esteem in ourselves and others. Example: "I'm stupid," or "I'm fat." When we say phrases like these often, they become a part of our identity and we can begin to dislike who we are. Instead: Remember, people are not their faults or shortcomings. You may engage in stupid behavior occasionally, but that doesn't make you a stupid person. Change your negative "I-am" statement into a statement about behaviors. Example: "I make unhealthy choices when it comes to food." It's easier to change a behavior, than to change your identity.

Blaming: We assign guilt, instead of solving the problem. If we can blame others, then we can feel vindicated in a wrong-doing, and avoid responsibility. Instead: Focus on what YOU can do to promote a solution to the problem.

"Yes but..." Arguments: When someone offers a possible solution to our problems, we "yes but..." and list reasons why the proposed solution won't work. "Yes but..." says "I'm really not listening to you right now." Instead: Open up to new possibilities and consider alternatives. Really listen to advice and give it a fair hearing, before dismissing it so quickly.

Overgeneralizing: This is similar to stereotyping and thinking in absolutes. It means that we take a single instance or occurrence, and generalize it to numerous other situations. Example: "Joe is a nice man, and he doesn't want to date me. Therefore: No nice man will ever want to date me." When misused, this kind of generalizing can lead to illogical conclusions. Instead: Ask yourself whether there could be exceptions to your generalization. Does a single occurrence mean it will happen every time?

One of the more frequently faced challenges experienced by athletes is that of how to improve their performance. They express frustration that they often possess identical, if not superior, physical attributes to their competition, yet they're consistently being out performed by that competition. In many of these cases the factor that separates their performance from the competitions has been found to be rooted in their belief as to their ability to outperform the competition. In other words they are operating with a limiting belief as to their athletic ability and level of performance they are capable of achieving. Yet it is well documented that a individual's core beliefs in any given area of their life will ultimately determine the reality they draw into their life-positive, negative or stagnant.

Now you know what negative self-talk sounds like. Negative self-talk is usually a mixture of half-truths, poor logic, and distortions of reality that perpetuates negative emotions, such as pessimism, guilt, fear, and anxiety. It often occurs when in times of emotional turmoil, or when we are going through stress or a personal transition.

When you catch your negative self-talk, take a deep breath, relax, and remove yourself from the situation. Get up and stretch, or take a walk, or get a drink of water, in order to interrupt your train of thought and get out of the negative rut. Write down some of your negative thoughts and then ask yourself "Are the things I'm saying true? Are there other possibilities and meanings that I could get from these circumstances?" Then replace your negative thoughts with realistic, positive thoughts---and write those down too. Soon you'll stop that self-talk in mid-sentence.

Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D

It doesn't take a continual repetition of negative statements from our parents, peers, and others throughout our childhood to cause low self-image-self-esteem...fact is, once we get a couple in our head, we can use them over and over again. Again and again we take those false negatives and repeat them unconsciously (completely unaware). It's like having a constant heckler with you.


What the Research Shows

Author Adam Khan shares a story in his book Self Help Stuff That Works of how Randall Masciana, M.S., found out what kind of mental strategy most improved a person's performance when throwing darts. Masciana asked his dart-players to try everything from mental imagery (visualizing hitting the target) to Zen meditation (clearing the mind of extraneous thoughts). Masciana discovered that positive self-talk was the best technique for improving the dart thrower's ability to hit the target. This kind of positive self-talk is very simple -- it consists of talking to oneself in a confident, reassuring, positive, friendly way. Surprisingly, positive self-talk works better than anything else!

In her American Journal of Nursing article, "Making Self-Talk Positive", McGonicle defines "harmful" negativity as being "awfulistic" - where everything is viewed as being catastrophic, "absolutistic" - using "must," "always," "never", or "should-have" statements in one's self-talk. It's generally healthier to refrain from all-or-nothing thinking, discounting the positive, emotional reasoning, and personalization and blame.

Life is like a big swing, dangling between the depths of happiness and sadness. As soon as we descend down the slope of sadness, we accelerate over the ever-feel-good acclivity of happiness. At times of distress, when we are down we slip over an abyss of emotional trauma and frustrations. One who can rise above the occasion, is the architect of many wins over sorrows

 

In her book Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, Barbara Levine recommends that we examine our seed thoughts for signs of mindless cliches and other negative elements, so we can replace these thoughts with something more constructive. Regardless whether our thoughts are positive or negative, Levine suggests that we reflect upon how we are feeling when these kinds of self-talk statements arise. We can then discover which thoughts help us feel better, so we can pay more attention to those thoughts more often.

Positive self-talk has been associated with reduced stress, which has been shown in numerous health studies to affect our health. Both thoughts and self-talk are based on beliefs that we form early in life. As I've now witnessed first-hand, beliefs shape our self-talk, which in turn affects our self-esteem... and our quality of life.

How to help yourself

We need to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk we're willing to let ourselves accept. You can't draw on a chalkboard if there's an eraser following close behind. That's what negative self-talk is....it erases the good, and replenishes it with bad.


These days there are amazing Tools to help substitute negative Self talk with positive


Build your self esteem and confidence -
RESILIENCY COURSE

Building Through Creative Blocks: Hidden Wisdom.
Generate new ideas spontaneously. Overcome internal obstacles effortlessly in order to stimulate innate creativity.

Creating a Presence: Power Communication
Learn to speak confidently in public. Gain confidence and assertiveness. Become a truly great communicator

Changing Emotions: A Stress-Management Program
1: Building Self-Esteem and Alleviating Anxiety.
2: Coping with Anger and Lifting Depression

The Quest for Excellence:
Maximising Performance for Business, Sports & the Arts
1: Setting Goals and Confidence.
2: Maximizing Performance and Handling Pressure

Inside/Outside:
The Motivational Weight-Loss program
1: Motivation and Discipline.
2: Lifestyle Changes and Exercise

Personal Ecology: The Complete Self-Esteem Program
1: Self-Respect and Confidence.
2: Assertiveness and Relationships (

Belief
We all have beliefs that either support or obstruct day-to-day accomplishments.
If you believe you cannot do something, you can change that belief by listening to this CD.

New Behavior Generator
Behaviors are at the root of everything we do.
Use this CD to neutralize behaviors that hinder you and acquire new behaviors you want.


Self-Esteem Supercharger

Face life challenges with a stronger belief in yourself. Improve willpower, determination, and stamina. Build confidence and self-assuredness. Feel better about yourself