Do you hear that voice? Yes, the voice in your head that allows you to read this very article. Even though you may not be speaking— there is a tiny little voice in your head that continues to influence and direct every action, decision and emotion that you feel every single day.
This is the same voice that tells you to stop when you know you need to keep going to the gym. This is the same voice that tells you that you shouldn’t speak up at meetings for fear of what everyone may think about you, and the same voice that tells you to stay in the bed when you know you should get up and tackle the day. This is your self-talk. Your self-talk can either contribute to your self-fulfillment or lead you to your own self-destruction. It’s a choice that every human must make when they began their own journey of self-awakening.
Take a moment and ask what you’ve said to yourself lately. Has it been positive or negative? Is your self-talk pushing you towards your desired outcomes, goals and preferred life? Scientists have conducted hundreds of studies and have concluded that the actual thoughts you have about whom you are or where you want to go physically affect the structure of your brain. Many years ago, we believed that our brains were fixed and hard-wired but now we know that we have the ability to not only physically shape our brain but can create better habits that can contribute to a more fulfilling life. Think of your self-talk as the first step in guiding your brain and life to what you want more of.
I know the first question that comes to mind is “where do I start?” Let me first start off by saying that this is something that is learned over time. Rushing this process will only lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction. It can take some
patience but once you began this journey and stay consistent, your life will start to unfold with more desirable outcomes.
The first step in taking charge of your self-talk is being aware of your thoughts in the first place. Many times, we become so attached to every thought that comes up that we tend to believe they are always true and fact. You must detach yourself from negative thoughts and began to interrupt them— and even allow them to pass through your mind. I know this is easier said than done but just the fact that you spent time to even question a negative thought is progress in itself and a huge first step in becoming mentally conscious and aware. Over time, through neuroplasticity— the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout and individual’s life— this practice becomes easier and your brain slowly begins to change its actual physical structure.
Another strategy to help interrupt and counter negative or stressful thoughts that I found to work well is by Byron Katie. It consists of four simple questions that you should ask yourself when a negative thought arises: