Have you noticed that anytime you are in a decisive, learning, or any other thought process, there is a persistent internal dialogue going on in your mind? This inner speech comes naturally, enabling us to reason so that we make decisions based on the current situation. However, it mostly refers to our past failures and successes as stored in our subconscious mind.
For example, a tough past can provoke a negative internal dialogue that affects our moods. In addition, sometimes this inner speech works to beat ourselves up with unhappy thoughts and negative language. For example, it reinforces anxiety when we are worried.
Nevertheless, did you know that you could manage your internal dialogue to safeguard your mental wellbeing? Yes, you can stop a negative internal dialogue and replace it with a positive one. Here is how.
First, can you effortlessly tune in to your internal dialogue? Are you aware of when and why it happens? You can only stop negative thoughts if you know what brings them in the first place.
We live in a world that bombards us with lots of stimuli. Think of kids who need your attention, the TV, social media scrutinizing our lives, and multiple cell phone messages and calls. Plus, we all work so hard to succeed in our careers, finances, and family.
These stimuli and aspirations rarely allow us time for silence and reflection. If you are living a fast-paced life, meditation can help you focus on your thoughts. For example, practicing Inner Smile meditation quiets the mind of all the negative thoughts, even for a few minutes.
And, if the traditional meditation techniques are a no-no to you, you can: –
- Enjoy a forest bath in the public park
- Spare some minutes each day to tend to your garden
- Listen to guided sleep meditation each night
- Take deep breaths
If you are new to meditation, you can practice mindful thinking throughout the day. It will help you understand what is lingering in your mind at different times. That way, you can identify the sequence of activities that lead you to think the way you do.
Meditation and mindful thinking will help you to stop negative internal dialogue by: –
- Knowing if and when you have dominant-negative or positive thoughts. What occupies your mind?
- Pin-pointing your dominant time orientation. Do you think more about the past, future, or present?
- Identifying to what extent these thoughts affect your moods. How far does your internal dialogue go if left unattended?
- Determining your source of motivation especially if you desire to improve yourself.
Replacing Negative Internal Dialogue with a Positive One
Practice Positive Affirmations
Is your mind drifting into a negative internal dialogue? First, say stop. Then, start reading or reciting positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are powerful in arresting fears and worries that affect our thought process. These affirmations allow us to live our lives in the present and accept our current stages in life.
To practice positive affirmations, it requires lots of repetition. Here are some tips: –
- Use present tense when affirming yourself
- State the feelings you want and your subconscious mind will own them
- Pin the affirmations in the kitchen, dressing table, and walkways. Listen to them before you sleep, when driving to work, or when relaxing on a Sunday afternoon
Create a Confidence Boost
Negative internal dialogue dampens our self-confidence. When this happens, we struggle to stay motivated and productive. To deal with this challenge, come up with an awesome list. This list is your confidence boost whenever your internal dialogue makes you beat yourself up. Here are things you can include in your Awesome list: –
- List of your achievements for the day or week
- A diary on your 100 days of rejection challenge
- Your self-love plan that includes realistic targets
- Ways how you assist others in need
Maintain a Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is similar to an awesome list, only that you use it to remind yourself of what you have achieved so far. For example, you can list the top 10 things that you are thankful for. Refer to this list at least once or twice a week. Write or read this journal as part of your existing habit. Read and update your journal when taking your coffee, riding the bus, or preparing to sleep. By making it a habit, you can stay consistent in acknowledging your achievements.
Be Your Friend
Negative internal dialogue is like an enemy within you that you struggle to control. We often put ourselves down using powerful thoughts that we would never use on someone else. For example, when you look in the mirror, the internal dialogue may shame your body using a harsh description of your flaws. Yet, you wouldn’t critic a friend in the same way if you were to describe them.
Then, why not start looking at this inner speech as your friend? When you do so, you will make it a habit to look for positives in your life.
Live in the Present
Do you struggle to live in the present? Are you finding it hard to let go of your past, or are too anxious to get into the future? You could be going through a difficult phase of life that makes it hard to live in the present. Because of that, your internal dialogue keeps reminding you of a time when things were better. Likewise, you could be struggling with a tough past. You need to change your view of today. Believe that each moment you have is a gift. Learn to forgive and let go.
Have a Support Network
Sometimes, our negative self-talk can overwhelm us to the point of harming us. Think of the times when you want to improve your skills and apply for a promotion, but your internal dialogue tells you that you’ve never achieved anything. Create a support network of family and friends who will be on the lookout for any negative behavior changes in you. This support system will help you get through anxiety, depression, or get you back to reality.
The Bottom Line
Note that our thoughts and feelings are not always reality. And, 85% of what we worry about never happens. Then, the best approach to stop internal dialogue is by attacking it through meditation and mindful thinking. Once you identify it, you can change your thought process through positive affirmations, maintaining confidence boosters, and gratitude journals. Still, a support network of friends or family can help you get back to reality when your thought process drifts you into self-harm.