As a species, humans have many differences. Race, culture, location and circumstance all ensure that we each have our own unique characteristics and no one person is the same.
But there is one thing in common with all of humanity: our propensity to talk to ourselves. Be it in our heads or out loud, we chatter away to ourselves constantly and often may not even know we’re doing it. While we may not pay much conscious attention to our self-talk, it plays a huge role in our emotions, behaviors and actions.
As such, actively acknowledging and directing your self-talk is a vital step in achieving happiness, success and everything you want in life. For example, each time you fail at something, you might say to yourself something along the lines of, “That’s okay, I’ll try better next time,” or “I’m useless at this, I should just give up now.” Whether you choose to think or speak positively (the first example) or negatively (the second) to yourself influences your choice to get back up and try again or wallow in self-pity and never seek to achieve anything of note with your life.
Entrepreneurs, for example, are well-known for their seemingly endless positivity and ability to keep trying in the face of adversity. Their secret to steadfastly striving to achieve their dreams is self-talk. They’re aware that beating yourself up about failures and talking down your abilities can actually physically manifest themselves in your consciousness and actions.
So what are some of the key steps to reprogramming your self-talk to help you fast-track yourself to success and happiness?
Consciously acknowledge your self-talk
This step seems like an easy one, but it is also the most vital step to reconfiguring your brain for success.
Your mind functions on the principle that its contents must be true, so your thoughts tend to repeat over and over in a cyclical fashion with regards to a particular experience or issue you’ve faced or are about to face. When this happens, take note of these thoughts and just observe them. There is no need to address them at this point — just acknowledging them and being aware of their contents is an important step.
If you have trouble focusing your awareness, certain forms of meditation can help provide the assistance you need to achieve this first step.
Begin to modify your thoughts
Now that you are able to pause in the act of talking to yourself and examine what exactly it is that you’re saying, try changing your self-talk. Take what your mind is thinking and consciously turn it on its head.
Let’s take telling jokes as an example. You tell a joke you thought was funny to a group of friends and none of them laugh. Awkwardness ensues, and you begin to tell yourself that you’re obviously not a funny person and you should quit trying to be a comedian while you’re ahead. Stop this thought in its tracks and instead say to yourself something like, “I’m hilarious. Maybe they just didn’t quite understand the punchline.” The act of saying this to yourself helps to actually convince your subconscious mind that you are indeed funny, and the next time you tell a joke you’ll be surprised to find that people think you’re funny, too. Because the trick to being a good comedian is being convinced that your joke is hilarious. If you’re laughing as you tell the joke and are clearly convinced that it’s funny, other people will think it’s funny, as well.
When negative thoughts attack, find something to be grateful for
Every time you notice yourself succumbing to negative self-talk, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply and think about something you’re truly grateful for.
It could be your significant other or your children, that vacation you’re planning on taking in a few weeks or even just a great movie you watched last night. You’d be surprised by how quickly you can turn your negative self-talk into positive thoughts just by focusing your awareness on something you appreciate. The fact is, you are in control of your emotions, not the world outside, so you can decide whether to think negatively or positively.
And as we all know by now, negative thoughts can only hold you back, while positive thoughts are essential for realizing your dreams.
Now that you’re a self-talk guru, turn your attention to those you love. Next time you see them looking troubled or crestfallen, guide them through the process of reprogramming their mind for achieving everything they want in life.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.