Beat the Brain Bully

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The power of positive self-talk for self-care

We all talk to ourselves. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we have a continuous dialogue running through our brains. These conversations that we have with ourselves can be based on facts or fiction, as well as, come from a positive or negative place. However, these aren’t just words floating around. They can directly impact the quality of our lives and relationships. This is because the words and thoughts you speak, or think, can change your brain chemically and physically. Thus, when you constantly have negative conversations with yourself, you’re rewiring the directives you give to your brain on how to perceive life. Additionally, it impacts your decisions and the comprehensive steps to action out.

Why Positive Self-Talk Is Important

Positive self-talk is a vital part of your self-care routine because mental health has a link to physical health. When you make positive self-talk part of your life, you start to see certain benefits. For starters, it improves your confidence and helps you to perform at your best.  This is made possible because positive self-talk silences the doubts and second-guessing that usually holds us back. Instead, it amplifies our self-belief and belief in our abilities, priming us for professional and personal triumph.

Secondly, it lowers the incidence of depression because optimistic thoughts can pull you away from thoughts of worthlessness, hopelessness and feeling useless. It’s also known to help with stress elimination and lowering levels of anxiety. Once you’ve got your stress and anxiety under control, it means that the risk level reduces for possible cardiovascular diseases. But it’s not just your heart that gets a helping hand. Positive self-talk also bolsters your immune system, increasing your common cold resistance and life expectancy.

Thirdly, it improves your coping skills which are necessary to get through difficult situations. This is the kind of benefit that helps individuals motivate themselves to finish a project before a deadline or apply for the position or salary they want.

Lastly, the way we talk to ourselves, directly impacts the kind of relationships we have with our family, friends and significant others. When we believe that we are valued and have worth, it teaches others how to respect and act towards us.

How Can You Reprogram Your Mind?

Our emotions are created by our thoughts; thus, a positive thought leads to positive emotions. The more you do this the more your emotions will be moving in an upward spiral. On the other hand, if you focus on negative thoughts you will perpetuate a downward moving spiral. Accordingly, it’s paramount that we train our minds out of this dark spiral. Retraining the mind does need commitment, practice and discipline but it is achievable. Here are some strategies you can use to shift your internal dialogue to a more uplifting one:

Stop the Spiral

When you catch yourself in negative talk, do something to distract yourself. It could be counting backwards from 100 or perhaps meditation. The important thing is to find a method that works for you.

Jot Down Your Thoughts

Once you’ve pulled yourself out of the tail spin, take a journal, and write down all the things you were saying to yourself. Then question if they are beliefs or facts.

Read Positive Self-Talk Daily

Thinking positively every day can help the brain rewire itself by sending repeated electrical and chemical messages across your neuro pathways to create a highway. This helps you to easily see substitute solutions, increasing your chances of better, successful choices. Subsequently, when you read positive self-talk every day, it refocuses the mind and primes it to receive new ideas. This changes how you see yourself, your attitude and feelings, and finally your actions.

Rephrase

Instead of using phrases such as ‘I can’t’, correct your inner language to have less of the edge. For example, saying ‘you haven’t met the right person yet’ instead of, ‘Nobody loves me’. You can do this with the thoughts you’ve jotted down, and write the positive sentence close to the negative one.

Make It Specific

Whatever you tell yourself about the person you are trying to become must be specific. This is because the brain functions better with detail and specificity.

Practice Self-Compassion

When you notice the negative things you have been saying to yourself, be kind to yourself, instead of berating or knocking yourself down. Before you say anything, consider if those are things that you would say to a friend, a child or your hero. Ask yourself how you can be kinder to your friend/child/hero and you will find out that the answer can help you be compassionate towards yourself.

Monitor Your ‘I Am’ Statements

The statement ‘I am’ indicates a fundamental characteristic of yourself. However, if you notice that the second half of that ‘I am’ sentence is negative, change ‘I am’ to ‘I feel’. This indicates a shifting emotion and state, rather than a vital element of an individual.

Watch How You Talk About Others

It’s not only the negative things we say about ourselves that impact our health. Likewise, speaking ill of others can disrupt our internal wellbeing. Challenge yourself to pay at least three compliments daily to others. This will not only make them feel great but boost your positive emotions as well.

Try This Out

Choose to say something nice to yourself every morning. When that alarm goes off, get out of bed, and head to the closest mirror. Then pay yourself a nice compliment like ‘I am smart’, and ‘I am beautiful’. Next, speak positive affirmations like ‘today is going to be a happy, blessed day’. ‘I will make more right decisions’. Make sure to make eye contact with yourself.

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