Most of us are quick to recognise our flaws. We see all the things that are wrong, or lacking, or not good enough. This negativity has a major impact on our mental health. Isn’t it time to practise positive self-talk?
What Does Your Internal Voice Say?
When something goes well, do you congratulate yourself mentally, or are you quick to point out details that could have been better? Many of us hear that little voice in our head, but this internal dialogue is often the opposite of positive and uplifting. Why?
When we sit and think, we often ponder things we need to do, and we explore in our minds how or why we need to accomplish these tasks. Unfortunately, we worry about whether or not everything will get completed. Scientists generally divide negative thinking into three forms, worry, stress-reactive and emotion-focused. All three types have been strongly linked to depression and anxiety.1
Three Ways To Promote Positive Self-Talk
To Improve Performance
Learning how to overcome the constant negative chatter in our minds is important to ensure brain health. If we want to encourage brain-friendly workplaces, we need to encourage our employees (and those in various leadership positions) to emphasise the importance of taking care of ourselves, physically and mentally. We cannot perform at our best if we are feeling downtrodden, discouraged or defeated, especially when it’s our own voice doing the talking.
To promote positive self-talk:
- Visualise success. That little voice in your head is probably quick to point out everything that could possibly go wrong. Stop listening to it and instead, practise visualising success. See all the wonderful things that could happen in your mind. The old saying, “seeing is believing” rings true, so spend time walking through a scenario where only positive things occur.
- Write down your negative thoughts. If you are constantly plagued by worries and doubts, write them down. Allow your thoughts to spill onto the page. Once you’ve gotten all these worries out of your mind, imagine yourself wiping your mind clean. Then, symbolically discard of these worries by burning or recycling the paper. Remind yourself that these worries are no longer running rampant in your brain.
- Practise, practise, practise! You won’t be able to switch your inner dialogue from anxious to supportive like you can turn a lamp on or off. It will take some practise. Meditation, breathing exercising, spending time out in nature, and pursuing your hobbies can all help calm the critical and obstructive thoughts.
The way you choose to think and speak about yourself (to yourself and others), IS A CHOICE! You may have spent your whole life talking about yourself in a negative way, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue on that path.
Mental Readiness And Mental Health Go Hand-In-Hand
Mental readiness means we have confidence in ourselves, the ability to focus, and the ability to see and plan for the future.2 Visualising success is a much better use of our time than worrying and feeling stress about what could be. Listening to the negative inner voice is a difficult habit to break, but when we are aware of the detrimental effects on our brain we can focus our energy on improving our performance, our psychological health, and our overall well-being.
The documentary film Make Me A Leader explores how we can cultivate brain-friendly leaders to improve the quality of life for everyone in an organisation.
The i4 Neuroleader Methodology aims to improve performance, promote mental health and readiness, and create a better world. If you are ready to change your inner dialogue from one of negativity to one that is uplifting, positive and optimistic, check out our i4 Neuroleader Program!
1. Rood L, Roelofs J, Bögels SM, et al. Dimensions of Negative Thinking and the Relations with Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents. Cognit Ther Res 2010; 34: 333–342.
2. McLennan K. Building Leaders for the Imagination Age: The Case for the i4 Neuroleader Model. 1, About my Brain Institute, 2016.