The Effects of Self-Talk

The truth is we have to be careful who we listen to. For example, as kids we learned never talk to strangers. We have been told to be careful when listening to the media. We are told not to listen to people that put us down or say negative things. But what about the voice in our head? What about the internal narrative and the self-talk that creates too many concerns or causes us to overthink too much?

There is the ever popular saying that goes, ”We are who we think we are”.  There is truth to the idea that says we are who we believe we are and as a result, we will never be anything but who we think and what we believe

Even if on the surface, we say out loud, “I want change,” or “I want to feel better,” and even if we say, “I want to break away from the people or the places or the habits that hold me back,” which may be true but yet, beneath the surface is a belief system that contradicts the idea. There is a longstanding program that we have been habitually running as a result of past connections. This stems from emotional lessons and the end results of previous experiences, which contradict the surface level ideas that say, “Yes, I want to do things differently”.

We are a creation of patterns and learned behaviors. We are wired to think, act and respond to information according to this computer in our head. We have our memory bank that stores the information from years and years of data and as a result, we have created a program based on past perceptions and past outcomes. This is what creates our opinions and lead to a routine thought process. This leads us to either repeat the past or deviate from creating a new future. And based upon our perceptions and emotions that make up our internal voice, this is what causes us to jump to conclusions and prepare for the worst.

If we believe there is a problem or if we believe the scenarios in our mind, our chemistry reacts and takes on the emotion as if our predictions have already happened. This is why people tend to be upset when they fear the worst. This is where procrastination can interrupt our next best step.
This happens because deep down, there is an internal belief that nothing can or will ever be different.

This is why people quit before they begin because they’ve pinned themselves to an emotional outcome. This happens when we have created a scenario through a biased program and while on the surface, yes, we might ask for change and want something different, but under the surface is a pathway of beliefs, opinions and thought patterns that have been trained to believe otherwise.

This is the self-talk that narrates the ideas in our mind and sets the predictions for an argument. These are the streaming ideas that create an internal monologue that talks about the past, the future and in the meantime, this is the voice that creates the obstacles that prevents us from calming down or living in the moment. Most of all, this is the voice that prevents us from changing and keeps us still.

There is the belief that we are crazy. There is the belief system that suggests we are not good enough or not capable.
There is the idea that suggests failure (So why bother?) or there are ideas that intimidate us, which is why procrastination might be an end result because the doubt has triggered our internal laziness because there is no reward at the end of the trick.

The real task is what can we do about this.

First, it is important to realize there is nothing wrong with self-talk. This is natural and normal. This is our idea-machine doing what it does naturally. There is the concern that nothing will ever change because since this is how we’ve always been, the idea to be or think any differently becomes too absurd to consider.

The ideas which assume we are a bother to others — or the idea that suggests we are unliked or unlikable, or the insecurities that assume people’s opinions of us will all link back to our habitual belief system. This is why we are who we think we are and we are what we believe.

The movement to change is dependent upon the way we change our thinking. This hinges on the way we change our behavior and since emotion and thought are so closely connected, in order for us to undergo a true change without falling backwards, we need to create new pathways of thinking by creating new pathways of behaviors. 

But how?
This is what no one tells us. People will give their suggestions that sound as simple as 1+1. There are helpful suggestions that direct us but simple math is not always so simple. In order to create the change, our mind needs something to grasp upon. We need something to materialize the lesson in a way that we can retain the information as well as understand the meaning behind what we’ve learned. This is a personal process that is unique to the individual.

So, let’s simplify this:
How can we retrain our thinking? More importantly, how can we avoid the internal narrative and the self-talk that places us back into old routines and old emotions?

First and foremost, we have to take this on a task by task basis. If simple math is not so simple, then we have to simplify our process be reducing the tasks to the least common denominator.

First, we have to address the self-talk and the internal arguments and predictions. Again, this is not an unnatural voice. This is our brain reliving past experiences or letdowns and looking for a new way to navigate from previous outcomes or letdowns.

This alone is not a bad thing. Quite simply, the mind looking to care for itself. However, in the event the momentum of self-talk picks up and in the event the internal narrative begins to build a troubled emotion, and based on old facts or something that hasn’t happened yet; above all, we have to learn ways to change our navigation to stop our interaction.

Imagine driving through a tunnel.
See your thought pathways as this route. When thoughts come, and we know they will, simply allow them to pass through. Do not dissect or

Tunnel GIF - Find on GIFER

diagnose them. Do not interact with them. Instead, allow them to pass through. Otherwise, one thought leads into two and two can quickly become four and then eight and so on. Interacting with negative self-talk prevents your thought traffic from moving freely through the tunnel and as a result, this causes a traffic jam. See your thoughts as passenger cars and allow them to pass.

Now, in all fairness, one could say this is easier said than done, which is true. This is why it is helpful to learn ways to replace thought with action. Meditation is also an excellent way to envision new thought pathways which means, instead of taking old paths, we can create new pathways for ourselves and retrain our thinking system to create new avenues of possibility. We have to learn ways to eliminate the mind traffic and create new routes and new pathways to remove the congestion in our thought patterns.

In order to remove doubt, we have to create possibilities. We have to learn new exercises without allowing them to become chores. We have create new incentives and learn how to readdress our reward system. This way we can see proof in our advancement. 
(This is basic life coaching 101 by the way.)

We have to find new avenues and actively look to create movement. We cannot have internal conversations that constantly relitigate the past. We have to take an active approach to relitigate the present to create a brighter future. This way, instead of resulting in chemical reactions of fear or giving into the chemical responses of anger or depressive ideas (like failure or shame), we can take on the energy that comes with victory. We can result in the chemical responses that come with positive connotations instead of old or previous programs. 

This has to become our blueprint:
To change our subconscious programs, we have to learn to rewire our subconscious thinking.

This means we can change our behavior. This means to create change, we create action. And by creating action, we create new emotion, new behaviors, new ideas and new realizations that our old beliefs were not true.

The struggle for many people is the process does not seem believable. The reason for this is the same. This is all too strange. And the reason why is simple. The reason new ways of living or new approaches seem foreign is because they are. Our new approaches can be uncomfortable because the fear comes from our rewards system, which needs to be validated and fed on a daily basis. 

The idea is to continually build new default settings. So, if we backslide, we will never backslide so far that old truths will become the new truths again.

Next, we can learn to create a new narrative. Therefore, if negative influences in our thinking will result in a chemical reaction then oppositely, positive reinforcement will lead to the chemical reaction of joy and fulfillment. 

Remember: Change is an action.
If we replace negative talk with helpful and transitional actions, this will create a different physiological reaction in our body. This is why exercise has been clinically proven to create an effective change with depressive thinking. 

To create this change, we have to allow ourselves the transition to us being our best friend instead of being our own worst enemy. 

Start by doing the easiest things in front of you.
Move on a task by task basis and break this down slowly. Give yourself some room to adjust and be patient.
Refrain from self-deprecating behaviors and conversations and above all, when the brain starts to fire off and negative self-talk begins to take the stage, don’t be afraid to say the word “STOP!”

Say this out loud if the need be. The mind picks up on this because the word “STOP!” is a trained command. Think of it like this: Imagine a child running around and screaming in a tantrum. The child wants attention. Think about the parent screaming the word “Stop” and the child pauses.

When self-talk turns against us, we can use this technique to create a break in the moment. Next, we can learn to insert ways to replace thought with action. And next, we are facing a change that we never believced was possible.

Start / Stop Service | Lakewood Water District, Washington

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.