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The power of internal dialogue

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

Internal dialogue can be done both positively and negatively. From a positive perspective, you can say affirmative words, like “I’m great” or “I’m extremely talented.” Tony Robbins says to look in a mirror and repeat “you’re beautiful” so that 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 like a teenager would: “You’re really going to say you’re not good enough, remember the time when…” Interrupting the negative patterns will stop this behavior.

However, it is not enough to stop a negative thought as we need to replace it with a positive one. From a neuroscientific perspective, we need three positive thoughts to override a negative one, so the positive words need to emerge. Consistency is what gives mastery, so the more you keep saying positive thoughts, the more you will maintain positive habits.

Living on the right side of our brain is what creates a more fulfilled and happy 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 adversities, you will not see them as gloom, but for what they are, allowing you to find solutions to deal with them and let them go.

I have had clients who have used this technique and find their perspective so happy; they feel less stressed and more calm. Those annoying coworkers may be having a bad day instead of ignoring them or getting angry; family members who have hurt us in some way can now be seen as hurting themselves, so their actions are not taken as an attack; past failures can now be forgiven and new resolutions to learn from as a rule.

Self-talk is a powerful tool for removing negative patterns and overriding the fears you have. One important step is to reinforce the new behaviors you’ve developed so that when you find yourself in a situation where you’re holding back, you can recall a past success.

Our brains tend to cling to negative thoughts, which then become predictors of the future; Using self-talk to challenge that fear, and then remembering a past success, is what will move you forward. For example: as a child, do you remember when you were learning to ride a bike? You started with training wheels, but then your dad said it was time to take them off and ride without; you may have said no, or you may have cried when the time came, because it was scary and you didn’t want to fall. Yet you did it, 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 think you can’t, go back and remember your experience of learning to ride a bicycle but the success you had; the internal dialogue kicks in “Look, you can do it, you didn’t think you could but you did it.” This will change your entire perspective to move in the direction you want to go.

Start using self-talk today when you feel challenged and see how it positively impacts your life. Write down your new achievements as ‘proof’ – you can now work with them, as your self-efficacy and confidence increase, and help you overcome any fears that may arise.

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