The Importance of Self-Talk

05.03.2020 |

Episode #2 of the course Improving your self-talk by Reed Rawlings


Welcome to Day 2! Yesterday, we talked about the foundation of self-talk, particularly how we internalize our inner voice and prompt conversations with ourselves.

Today, we’ll be covering the importance of self-talk, both as a concept and why it’s important to improve your inner voice.

At a high level, self-talk is the perspective you take of the world. It’s the way you communicate life’s various situations with yourself. If that trends negative or positive, your perception follows suit. If your self-talk sounds negative, you run the risk of making a mountain out of a molehill. Worse, there’s a good chance that you attribute negative intent to people you know: coworkers, friends, and family.

Those assumptions are driven by emotion. The worse our mood or the greater we feel about something, the stronger the pull of our feelings. Yet, we’re perfectly capable of giving sound, rational advice to friends in the midst of their turmoil. The reason is psychological distance.

Think about the last time a friend came to you with an issue. They may have been in pain or uncomfortable, but those emotions didn’t directly influence you. Even if you had feelings of empathy or sympathy, it was impossible for you to get the full effect. This emotional distance allowed you to provide objective, informed advice.

As we talk to ourselves, we’re accomplishing the same goal, though in our case, the distance is purely psychological. Research shows that this behavior is more than enough to help us gain an unbiased view of our circumstances.

From a personal standpoint, positive self-talk enhances a host of physical and mental abilities, including:

• general well-being

• vitality

• reduced stress

• cardiovascular health

• improved self-control

• an increased ability to cope with anxiety

• greater performance (for athletes)

As your self-talk improves, you’ll find that you’re more self-assured, motivated, and productive in your daily life. It takes time to reap these benefits, but they’re worthwhile to attain.

Unfortunately, most folks internalize an inner critic by default. We beat ourselves up, cast doubt over our achievements, and attribute negative emotions to others without cause. At its worst, negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of pulling you out of a downward spiral, your inner critic sends you deeper into your emotions until you’re left fixating on your past.

Positive self-talk aims to correct these ingrained behaviors.

For today’s exercise, I want you to think about a problem that you’re having right now. It could be an issue at work, with your partner, or something else entirely. Next, I want you to imagine speaking to a friend or mentor after you’ve asked them for advice. What are they saying to you? How do they say it?

Ideally, this small shift in mindset will engage your inner voice and demonstrate the difference between the speech we use with ourselves and those we care about.

Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about the various types of positive self-talk and how to recognize them.

Thanks for reading!


Recommended book

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman, and Jon Kabat-Zinn


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