Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Best Way to ID Negative Self-Talk and Change it Immediately

Do you talk to yourself? Of course you do. We all do. 

Is your running self-talk commentary empowering or disempowering? Does it support you or hold you back? There is an easy way to find out.

Why Self-Talk Matters

Why does this matter? It matters because your subconscious is both the source of - and audience for - self-talk whether positive or negative.

In addition to your mind and self-identity paying attention, self-talk can lead to biochemical changes in your body that affect your immune system, emotions, and cellular functions. Every cell in your body is listening. Self-talk can propel you toward your goals or place impassable boulders in your road to success.

What Research Tells Us

When you enter the term, “self-talk”, in Google Scholar service, you’ll find about 39,000 citations for studies that have looked at the role of self-talk in physical health, personal performance, and emotional well-being. We see a strong correlation between consistent patterns of negative or positive self-talk and corresponding changes in physical and emotional well-being and personal performance.

The Best Way to ID Your Negative Self-Talk

Do you need to constantly monitor your thoughts every minute? Absolutely not. Life should flow freely and so too should your thinking. 

If, however, you want to get a picture of your positive and negative thought habits, there is an easy way to do that: simply set a timer on your smartphone or set reminders as popups or email notices using your online calendar (Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, etc.) to alert you every 30 or 45 minutes.

With each alert, jot down a very brief description of the thought that was in mind just prior to the alert. Keep a list (or even better a journal) over several days. Add a “+” indicator for positive thoughts; a “-” for negative thoughts; and, a “0” for neutral thoughts.

Stay with this process for about a week. At the end of the week, review your list and count the “+”, “-”, and “0” entries. A couple of seconds worth of math and you’ll have the percentage of thoughts that fit into each of the three categories. Typically, most people will have 70 - 80% of thoughts in negative territory. 

What to Do When You Notice Negative Self-Talk

Since you know self-talk can affect your health, happiness, and performance, you have a chance to choose a new habit: every time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, scream (in your mind or - if your social situation allows - out loud) “STOP!”.

You’ll immediately notice a brief silence of mind. Fill that silence with a question that changes the direction of your thoughts.

For example, if you catch yourself thinking something like, 

“My boss is a jerk! She’s an idiot”, 

yell, “STOP!” and then say, for example,   

“OK, she’s obviously super stressed. What can I do that will help me understand what’s going on and maybe even help her as well?”.

Wait for ideas to come. They will. 

Choose the best way forward and proceed accordingly.

You’ll feel better immediately.

Over time, you will be less reactive and more proactive in your thinking. Your stress level will go down and your sense of emotional well-being will go up.

You benefit and so too will your family, friends, and co-workers.

How do you manage self-talk? Share your ideas in the comments below.


Steve Carter  

Stress Solutions, LLC | www.EFT-MD.com | StressMastery.Blogspot.com |

P.S. If you would like to talk about your situation and what life enhancements you would like to experience, contact us through the "Contact Us" page at http://www.EFT-MD.com.

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