“…for there is nothing either good or
bad, but thinking makes it so.”
What is Self-Talk?
Whether you notice it or not, there is always some kind of conversation going on inside your head. Some people call these conversations mind chatter or dialogues. At Take Care of Mom, we call it Self-talk.
Self-talk describes the ongoing conversation that all of us experience. This inner conversation consists of thoughts, beliefs, and mindsets that actually control how you feel and how you behave.
Why is it so important to learn about your personal self-talk?
It’s all about control.
Researchers and scientists used to believe that our moods and our personality styles, including our optimism and pessimism, were determined by a combination of genetics and what happened to us as children. In this theory, control over your beliefs and feelings lay in the hands of your circumstance.
Depending upon your personal circumstance, this could be a very limiting and fatalistic viewpoint.
This Nature or Nurture influence is certainly real, but what we have learned in the past decade about the power of the brain has changed the way we see things. Now we know that our genetics and our life experiences play only a small part in deciding who we are and who we ultimately want to be.
The real player is the power of thought and belief in our mind. Through brain research and social science, we’ve learned that we can identify thoughts and beliefs and actually intervene to change them. When we change our thoughts and beliefs, we gain critical control over the feelings and behaviors that we used to think determined our destiny. You empower yourself.
Your self-talk is the most powerful system in your body. It has the power to make you sad, angry, excited, afraid and happy. In the last decade, research has also shown that it has the power to make you perform better in athletic pursuits, music performance, business pursuits and problem-solving. Your self-talk can rev your body up to a frantic panic or an angry rage or it can calm you down and invite you to collaborate and connect with others. The dialogue in your head can even make you physically ill and thankfully, and conversely can also improve your immune system! Amazing, huh?
Most of us don’t even recognize half of what we are thinking and how those thoughts and beliefs influence our lives. We walk through life feeling powerless over our feelings and sometimes even struggle to control our actions. Sadness or anxiety can creep up on us and we don’t know why. We can suffer from debilitating shame and self-criticism and never realize that we have the power to change it!
It is our self-talk process that actually determines how we experience life, especially whether we are generally optimistic or pessimistic, whether we feel depressed and anxious or hopeful and confident, and ultimately how we deal with challenges in our lives. In essence, who we are as unique individuals is deeply connected to our self-talk.
If you can learn how to work with your inner self-talk, then you will learn to have increased control in your life in ways that you never dreamed of. You can actually create more of the outcomes you want by refocusing your thinking!
This increased control is called resilient thinking
Learning to have resilient thinking.
Resilient thinking is understanding that our thoughts and interpretations affect our reality, not just what happens to us.
This is important because we can’t always choose what happens to us. However, we can choose how to respond to what happens to us.
Choosing our response starts in our thinking, translates into our feelings and then finally influences our behaviors.
Resilient thinking helps us dial-in to the command center of our thinking where our expectations, perception, and interpretations live. We can learn to have optimistic thoughts in the face of any challenge. This gives us literal power in our lives.
With optimism, our feelings become more reasonable. The sadness stays at sadness instead of escalating to despair. Irritation or disappointment stays reasonable rather than escalating to rage and fury. We learn to sort through our feelings and actions in ways that we determine. All of this affects our behaviors as well because we are no longer a victim of these intense feelings.
What is optimism and why does it matter so much?
Optimism is more than being positive all the time. According to Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology,
“The basis of optimism does not lie in positive phrases or images of victory, but in the way you think about causes”
One is not born an optimist. It is not a character trait. Rather, it is a skill that can be learned. It is a thinking style that can lead to different kinds of beliefs that in turn impact your experiences.
As a psychotherapist, I have been utilizing two methods to teach my clients resilient thinking.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients correct and re-direct the faulty thinking that causes them painful and unwanted emotions.
- Growth Mindset to help clients approach their world as a place to be imperfect and take risks, learning from both the failures and successes in life.
Here at TakeCareofMom.com, we have tools to challenge negative thinking and exercises to adopt a healthy growth mindset to better serve you in your life. These are tools that you can learn and start implementing right away! Take a few minutes to check out each of these amazing strategies to build resilient thinking!
Remember I’m here to help you take care of you!
Please share your thoughts and feelings below and don’t hesitate to visit our forum to continue the discussion!