Are your incessant thoughts draining your enthusiasm and confidence? Change idle mental chatter to positive self talk.
“Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience”. – Sonia Choquette
“I get so frustrated with all the talking that happens in my head,” said a friend of mine. My answer, “the talking isn’t the problem – it is that you listen to it. When you listen, you believe, when you believe, you act on it and then the ‘talking’ becomes your reality. You have to stop listening to what you are saying to yourself and start deciding what you will allow your mind to review. Whenever I thought I couldn’t do something, I always proved myself right.”
When you look at that mental chatter or self talk, you will notice it is a relentless barrage of noise. Usually it puts you down, directly or indirectly, in one way or another. It will make you look and feel small or stupid when you compare yourself to others or to the standard of expected performance. The voice doesn’t seem to acknowledge or encourage you when you do well. It seems to delight in exhausting you by rehearsing all the things you have to do that you feel totally inadequate to do. It reminds you that, in the past, you said you would change but that seems totally impossible for you to do and, in reality, you probably will not be able to do so.
So how do you take control of those incessant thoughts? The good news is that once you become aware of what is happening to you and that you have unconsciously allowed it to occur, you can fix it!
Here are a few ways I used to change the self talk. I had to know how bad the “disease” was before I could treat it. I understood I would be both patient and doctor, so I had to acknowledge that if I stayed the same, I would stay the same.
First was acknowledging that my mind was taking me down a path I didn’t want to go. Second was acknowledging I am responsible for me and I could control my thoughts. Therefore, it was possible to change. So when a thought entered my mind I immediately would ask – ‘Is this thought going to take me to where I want to go or is it going to keep me in my comfort zone?’ If it is going to chain me to the past, then I must immediately change the thought and choose the new thought that will support me. In the beginning this can seem like a lot of hard work-–constantly monitoring your thoughts, deleting the inappropriate ones and replacing them with positive, uplifting thoughts. It is work, but is your future worth it? Do you want to change your future badly enough? Is the pain of being where you are now bad enough to do the necessary work to change the paradigms of failure and negative thinking that fill your mind? My answer was yes.
Sometimes singing really helped me. Get a song that lifts your heart and every time that limiting thought comes in, replace it with that song. If you are driving, put down the window and sing at the top of your lungs. You can’t think the negative thought and sing at the same time. When people drive past you, they will want what you are having!
Or perhaps you can replace the negative thought with an opposing affirmation. So you can reply, ‘Yes, that used to be me in the past, but now I am….’ You know the old thought is true, so denying it as a “non-truth” doesn’t work. That is why you agree with the thought and say, ‘Yes, that was true, in the past’. That releases you from the argument that you are lying to yourself when you make that affirmation in the personal, positive and present tense. You have made a decision about the new you and you are going to think it into belief–moving the thought from your head to your heart.
Here is the ‘medication’ solution I found very useful for me. I put a rubber band around my wrist and every time I found myself thinking those limiting, destructive ‘Stay in the comfort zone, what makes you think you ever can change?’ kind of thoughts, I would pull the rubber band and let it go. The pain that followed reminded me if I didn’t change my thoughts to the positive the rest of my life would be filled with the pain of regret. It didn’t take long for me to get a blister on that wrist and, after that, I found my mind got the message. If it is to be, it is up to me. So with this understanding, I was able to redirect my thoughts into the new vision of my fulfilled and happy life.
You eventually will get to the point where you immediately become aware when negative chatter has entered. As you develop the RAS (Reticular Activating System) your mind will be less able to take your thinking down the old destructive path. Your new habit of redirecting your thoughts to your desired outcome will be the natural procedure. Now you can decide for yourself if you are going to build your day on the old paradigms or not.
The goal isn’t eliminating your mental chatter, but rather creating chatter that is supportive of you as a person with fabulous goals and desires. You CAN choose your thoughts and direct them. You can make your thoughts your best friend instead of your worst enemy. Choosing your thoughts is the runway where you can take off into a whole new life of adventure. Just imagine what you can imagine!