Self-talk is the communication we use with ourselves and is a natural cognitive process. The amount you engage in self-talk may depend on the specific situation you are in. For example, people may use more self-talk when faced with a challenging situation. This little voice inside your head usually combines conscious beliefs as well as more unconscious thoughts and bias. It is also an incredibly important tool for emotion regulation as it can help manage challenging and stressful situations. Come, let’s find out more about the power of self talk.
Self talk can be negative or positive in nature and can significantly impact your emotions and mood. The power of positive self talk is such that it can be uplifting and can help you feel more confident, motivated, and have more perspective. Research suggests that engaging in positive self-talk before exams can reduce performance anxiety. Another study found that athletes who engaged in positive self talk significantly improved their performance. It also helped them stay engaged with the sport and have fun while performing.
Also read: Make sure your self-talk is rooted in positivity with these 3 tips
On the flip side, negative self talk can have a completely opposite effect and can negatively impact self-confidence and self-esteem and often lead to a vicious cycle due to confirmation bias. In fact, negative self talk can make you more likely to experience other cognitive distortions such as over-generalization or unnecessary fortune telling These cognitive distortions will, in turn, negatively impact your mood. Research suggests that individuals with depression or anxiety regularly engage in negative self talk.
As we can see, self talk plays a crucial role in the overall well-being of an individual, and paying attention to it can have a positive impact. Positive or negative self talk becomes a habit, and just like any other habit, can be changed.
Very often, when you engage in self-talk, you may use very hard-hitting language, harsh words, or go to extremes. A simple way to start transforming your self talk is to change some of these words. For example, instead of saying, “I can never do anything right,” you may say, “Sometimes, I find things challenging and need more time to do them.”
Previous research has suggested that self talk can be made more effective when using your name or third person pronouns instead of personal pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘me.’ This helps create a powerful distance from the emotional intensity and allows you to adopt a broader perspective.
Set a few random times in your day to check in with yourself, and ask yourself how you are feeling at that moment. This will allow you to be more aware of your mood and how likely that is to impact your self-talk and vice versa.
You could try text-based therapy, which would allow you to take a closer look at patterns in the language you are using. As there is a strong link between language and self talk, working with a therapist to understand this pattern will allow you to transform your self talk in the process.
The voice you are likely to hear most in life is your own voice which makes it incredibly crucial to make your self talk work for you. Your self talk can impact your emotions and how you feel about yourself and the world around you. It can affect your behavior as well.
Positive self talk can empower you, and negative self talk can hold you back. Always try to be mindful about your language and words you are using, and try turning any negative talk into positive or neutral self talk. It’s time that you take a step toward bettering yourself as well as improving your sense of self-worth, and communicating positively with your own self makes for an ideal start.
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