internal dialogue

Listen How You Talk to Yourself: Why Internal Dialogue Matters

By Shawn Burcham

Do you talk to yourself? Is it normal?

The good news is that it’s totally normal, whether externally or internally. It all depends on how you do it. For a healthy, positive mindset you need a positive, healthy internal dialogue. 

In an NBC News article, New York-based clinical psychologist, Dr. Jessica Nicolosi, said, “If we’re talking to ourselves negatively, research suggests that we’ll more likely guide ourselves to a negative outcome. However, when self-talk is neutral—as in a statement like ‘What do I need to do?’—or positive, such as ‘I can get this done,’ then the outcome is much more effective.” 

This confirms my belief that positivity breeds positivity and that it starts internally. As you sit there reading this article, take a hard look at the tone of your internal dialogue. 

In the same NBC News article, occupational therapist and life coach, Dr. Julia Harper, said, “It’s important to note that [talking to yourself] is a two-part process: the talking and the listening. Self-listening, otherwise known as self-awareness, is a primary factor in offering feedback for self-efficacy.”

As you listen to yourself, what do you think you normally focus on? Do you constantly dwell on complaints, fears and doubts?

You will show externally whatever feelings you have inside. Using words of truth and encouragement on a consistent basis can have a big impact on your life. Work on going from a fear and problem-based internal dialogue to one that is solution-based. Try to cut out these problem-based types of internal dialogue:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Why do I have the worst luck?
  • Will I ever have more money?
  • My business is failing and there’s nothing I can do about it. 

Instead, in his iconic book Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins discusses a 10-day mental challenge. Basically, it boils down to avoiding these problem-based mindsets and training yourself to only think of solutions for ten days. If you dwell on your problems for more than a predetermined amount of time (for example, 1 to 5 minutes), the ten days start all over. To combat those problem-based thoughts, switch gears and ask yourself:

  • What’s great in this situation? 
  • What’s not perfect in this situation? 
  • How can I turn this around?

These are more empowering questions that take you from a helpless state to one where you have the power to change your situation and do something about it. It takes you from the victim to the hero of your own life because you can conquer whatever situation you face. 

Give it a try. You might not make it for ten days but I guarantee you that it will make you more cognizant of the tone of your internal dialogue. Just realizing and understanding the way you talk to yourself will be eye opening. It’s time to flip the script. It’s time to be self-aware. It’s time to change the tone and substance of what you talk to yourself about. 

Give this technique a try. It might just change your life.