During our waking hours, we all have an internal dialogue that defines our mood, emotions and behaviours throughout the the day. Whatever we’re doing, and wherever we we go...this soundtrack of internal chitter chatter plays out in our minds.
Unfortunately, most of us are pre-programmed to be our own worst critics, often saying things to ourselves that we’d never dream of saying to another. Much of this negative self talk is automatic, and it is responsible for a myriad of health complains, including depression, anxiety, low self esteem and - by the powers of association - aversions to particular events, places or people.
Some of us do succeed in being able to keep a positive sway on our thinking, but for others this requires some practice, so here are some small linguistic changes that may help...
💥THIRD PERSON THINKING
It’s not just about what you say to yourself, it’s about HOW you say it.
Experts advise using a third person reference, and avoiding referring to yourself in the first person, so replace “I” or “me’ with ‘her’, ‘him’ or your name. Apparently, this makes it easier to step back, achieve all-important ‘psychological distance’ and ultimately think more objectively about your emotions, so you can regulate your responses and lessen anxiety.
Giving the negative thoughts you have about yourself a mock name (‘MEAN GIRL’ might be apt) might help you to recognise them for what they are and detach yourself. Find your inner true friend instead.
Swapping ‘can’t’ for ‘don’t’ (eg. ‘I don’t find a solution’) is a small tweak that can make a big difference, since it demonstrates that you are in charge of your thoughts and behaviors, which is ultimately key to putting yourself back in control.