The little voice in your head that keeps you company throughout your days can be a wealth of support when appropriately nurtured. Only 30–50% of people have a running inner dialogue that repeats narratives and manages emotions.
With the idea that this inner dialogue can be a superpower, it’s important to choose our words carefully to exceed our potential. Simple techniques are all that are needed to refocus on our well-being. These techniques can include breathing when negative self-talk rears its ugly head so we can do a reset.
Another technique is to recognize our strengths and achievements. We should be thinking of ourselves as our best friend and speaking accordingly. A supportive voice during tough times and a strategic one when problem solving can take us to a new level of calm and success. Self-compassion will create healthier relationships in and out of your head.
What is your inner dialogue saying?
A story is formed when it is repeatable. Even if they only stay in our heads, these stories hold power over our outlook and emotions. The words we focus on can devastate or uplift when striving for our goals.
“Positive self-talk is a crucial daily practice, as our brains are naturally wired to prioritize safety over positivity,” explains Brianna Peters, ThriveDX’s mental health coach. “The words we use can have a profound impact on the reality we experience, and it all happens in steps. It all starts with awareness, where we need to understand how our thoughts work. Mindfulness comes into play here, as it’s more about acknowledging our thoughts than judging them. Affirmations are another powerful tool for manifesting positivity, but it’s important to address both tone and tense to maximize their effectiveness. One trick is to convince ourselves that what we desire is already happening by using present tense and action-oriented language. For example, saying “I am productive” reinforces the positive belief in ourselves.”
Here are Brianna’s top tips to create a mind that optimizes your performance and gives you the support you deserve.
Cheer yourself on
Sometimes we are so stressed out, our mind thinks in absolutes and engages in defeatism. Trying to convince ourselves doom is approaching may seem like we are being realistic, but this is untrue. We need compassion during tough times and a voice that supports us. Ask yourself if you would talk to a struggling friend like you do yourself to gauge your internal support. Plan how you will celebrate your successes, and choose your words carefully. Change happens when we grow aware of this inner dialogue and seek to nurture it. Owning our inner voice is the first step towards self-love and a more balanced outlook.
2. Take a mindful approach
Most of us go through our lives only paying attention to our breath when we are congested or in pain. But taking the time to breathe correctly can do wonders for mental and physical health. Paying attention to the rhythm of our breath can calm our mind. If a stressful moment hits, focus on your breath to break out of stressful thoughts. See yourself as an observer who is noticing the stressful thought but is not reacting to it. You can enhance this calming experience with essential oils like lavender or jasmine.
3. Look for ways to be grateful
Even small accomplishments add up. Acknowledgment is key. Tasks like making the bed, taking a shower and walking the dog are all undeniably essential and they impact our day if we fail to complete them. You can also celebrate gifts from others like a text wishing you well, a door held open, or a kind smile from a stranger. These small acts remind us we are valued and included. Being mindful of these small moments gives life a more favorable balance when things feel complex or heavy.
4. Sharpen your focus
We may fall into a pattern of feeling defeated or not good enough. This is because feeling defeated has become our focus. Rather than engaging in toxic positivity that tries to reframe our valid experiences, we can pay attention to what brings us comfort to stay grounded. A simple grounding practice of making a cup of matcha or noticing our pets expressing excitement when we cuddle with them will boost even the lowest spirits.
5. Practice kindness
We are with ourselves for the entirety of our lives. Negative self-talk can prevent a more profound journey into our heart and mind. Self-compassion can reset the tone of our inner dialogue. Start by appreciating the good in yourself, such as being safe, generous, or connected with others. A great trick to enhance your inner dialogue is to make a looping recording acknowledging your best qualities as ‘I am’ statements.
I am creative. I am disciplined. I am a great dog mom.
With practice and dedication to shifting perspective, you can move away from negative self-talk towards an empowering outlook on life.
6. Acknowledge the spectrum of emotions
Life is a bowl of cherries. A few pits just come with being alive, and highs and lows create a sense of cosmic balance. Even emotions that are perceived as unpleasant can be a great source of power.
All emotions and experiences have their place in the world. Rather than letting these feelings simmer inside of you, transmute them into ones of power. Anger can help create stronger boundaries. Sadness can transform into empathy. Grief can transmute into appreciation.
7. Alter your narrative
Make a conscious effort to change the stories you tell yourself. Again, this isn’t toxic positivity. A person who did not have present parents could transmute that energy into independence that sets an example for others. Or, someone who has a parent who is an addict may work on themselves to prevent attachments to alcohol or illicit substances.
Knowing what doesn’t work leads to understanding what does. Identifying patterns that keep us stuck is powerful. Creating new narratives allows us to move forward and achieve our goals.
Be willing to look deeply at what doesn’t work to take control of your own story and make changes for the better. Replacing self-defeating stories with ones that empower us can carve out a personal narrative filled with positive experiences/emotions we can be proud of.
Engaging in self-discovery and living with an open mind can help you understand the different perspectives available to you and give yourself the space to make meaningful decisions based on those newfound insights. When you reframe experiences in this way, your worldview, attitude and self-talk will become increasingly positive.
About Briana Peters, ThriveDX Mental Health Coach
Peters has a master’s degree in Social Work from Simmons University and a bachelor’s degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences and Health Sciences from the University of Florida. She has extensive experience in social work and mental health, including roles as a child welfare case manager and mental wellness coach for ThriveDX. Peters is certified in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her practice style emphasizes empathy, collaboration, and client-centeredness, using a variety of techniques such as CBT, DBT, and psychoeducation to create a holistic approach. Their goal is to help clients embrace their humanity and live fulfilling, authentic lives.