Have you ever noticed a voice talking inside your head?
This constant chatter narrates your life and the world around you.
You may notice this voice while doing mundane tasks such as brushing your teeth, cooking, or while taking a walk. It may even interrupt you while trying to focus.
It reminds you how busy your day will be, is outraged at the guy who cut you in line at the grocery store, dreads that email you have to return, or maybe even tells you to lose weight, and perhaps you shouldn’t have eaten that extra piece of the pie after all.
If you meditate, you may notice that when you try to clear your mind, this annoying voice starts talking about every other topic in your life, like what work you have left to do, what’s for dinner, or it may even begin criticizing you.
Does this happen to you? I can tell you that it does because it happens to everyone.
So why is this so important?
In 1994, Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher, and alternative healer, experimented with liquid water, exposing it to different words, photos, music, and pictures. Afterwhich he froze the water, observed the solidified ice crystals under a microscope, and examined how the various items interacting with the water affected the crystal formation.
When crystallized, the water exposed to positive words formed beautiful symmetrical snowflakes, while the water exposed to negative attributes creates the disturbing patterns seen below.
Blessing or Prayer
Even more remarkable, the foul imagery turns to beautiful snowflakes after blessing or prayer.
This experiment has provided scientific evidence of the power of positive thinking. The experiments demonstrate that human thoughts and intentions can alter physical reality, including the molecular structure of water.
Now, what does this have to do with you?
Given that roughly sixty percent of the human body and more than seventy percent of the earth consists of water, you may also conclude that how you talk to yourself can significantly impact your health, well-being, and longevity.
Creating a more positive thought pattern will drastically improve your quality of life.
So what can you do to stop this negative chatter?
Step 1: Observe the chatter.
Now, take a moment to observe this voice. After reading this paragraph, close your eyes for one minute and focus on your breathing.
Notice what happens in your mind.
Are your thoughts wandering? Do you hear another voice talking? Maybe you are thinking that you can’t believe you are doing this exercise and how stupid it is, or perhaps you are thinking about what you will do once you finish this article.
Just sit silently for a few moments and observe your thoughts.
After you did this, do you now notice this voice inside your head that keeps talking? If you don’t, listen again until you do.
Step 2: Reflect on how you are talking to yourself.
Over the next week, listen intently to how you speak to yourself and reflect on the following:
- Pay attention to this voice. What is it saying to you?
- Is your self-talk primarily positive or negative?
- Do you judge, blame, or take responsibility?
- Do you feel offended?
- Do you use words like always or never?
- Is how you are talking to yourself even true?
Keep a daily journal to record your reflections. Writing it down will enable you to review and reflect more deeply.
You may be surprised that this voice is often criticizing you. If this is the first time you have heard this voice, it can be shocking. Do your best to observe without judgment.
And know you are not alone! This voice exists to some degree in every human being. It stems from your childhood when exposed to other people’s viewpoints, such as parents, caretakers, siblings, peers, teachers, or society as a whole. The good news is with practice; you can create a more positive voice.
The voice can be anxious, frustrated, angry, self-defeating, whiny, complaining, judgmental, and tell you that you are a failure.
Your critical inner voice or “inner critic” consists of negative thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. It is self-defeating as it narrates negativity surrounding yourself and others.
It also may be deceptively self-soothing, granting permission to do things that are not in your best interest. This inner voice can significantly impact every aspect of your life, including your self-esteem, confidence, performance, and relationships.
Step 3: Give your “inner critic” a nickname.
How would you feel if someone you knew was criticizing your every move? This person told you, “You are a failure, You are not smart, You are not creative. You aren’t worthy”
I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t put up with it! You definitely wouldn’t talk to a friend like that. Then why do you tolerate this nasty inner critic inside your head?
It is helpful to give your inner critic a name to identify that this is not you but only a narrator. By creating space between yourself and your inner critic, you will be able to both remove its power and speak to it directly. It also will become a bit humorous. What nickname do you want to give this voice?
Step 4: Challenge your inner critic.
Talkback to your inner critic as though you are defending your friend (yourself).
Here are some tips:
Keep the inner critic in the third person or by the nickname you gave it.
For Example, every time you hear this self-critical judge speak, you can address it by saying, “Zip it, Roxanne!”
Instead of saying, “I am so awkward.” Say, “You are so awkward!” It will help you separate your thoughts as a separate entity and not a representation of reality. Remember that thoughts and feelings are not always the truth.
Next, use the I statement to create a more realistic and compassionate view of yourself “I am not so awkward. There is nothing wrong with me!” Make rational statements like “I may be a little shy, but that’s okay. Everyone feels shy sometimes.”
Think about where this voice originated. Who’s voice is this?
Where was it created?
Perhaps you used to hear this as a child somewhere else and adopted it.
Ask yourself whether there is any actual evidence for what you are thinking. What would you say if a friend were in a similar situation? Can you do anything to change what you are feeling badly about?
Step 5: Focus on Positive Emotions
Shifting your focus to positive emotions is crucial. You will begin to have positive thoughts by intentionally creating them. Here are some tips to help guide you.
1. Keep your focus on gratitude each day.
For more information on gratitude, read How to Feel Joy In Every Moment.
2. Make a list of three positive qualities about yourself each day:
Write down at least three positive attributes at night before sleep.
When you get up in the morning, read them.
If you cannot come up with three, try reflecting on the good things you did during the day and assigning a quality.
I held the door open for someone = I am considerate.
3. Reframe your negative thoughts by choosing positive language:
Instead of saying, “I will never be able to do this.” say, “Is there anything I can do that will help me do this?
If you catch yourself saying “I can’t,” change this to “I won’t.”
If you catch yourself saying things like “always” and “never,” change this to “sometimes” or “from time to time” or “at this moment.”
Example: Change “I am always bad at solving problems” to “I can sometimes have challenges solving problems.”
4. Empathize with your childhood self
Find a childhood photo and empathize with the child inside by looking deep into her eyes and genuinely loving this beautiful child.
Remember how innocent, free, and joyous she is. Know that this is still within you, and love her.
How you talk to yourself can significantly impact your health, well-being, and longevity. Creating a more positive thought pattern will drastically improve your quality of life.
Here are five steps that can help you shift your negative self-talk:
Step 1: Observe the chatter
Step 2: Reflect on how you talk to yourself
Step 3: Give your inner critic a nickname
Step 4: Challenge your inner critic
Step 5: Focus on positive emotions
How will you improve your positive self-talk over the next seven days?
Let me know how it goes by emailing me directly at email@example.com so that I can respond personally.
I would love to hear from you!