Self-talk means talking to oneself. You may wonder if talking to oneself is a normal act? It is because we generally think it is normal, only for children or persons who are crazy to indulge in self-talk. But, what you do not realize is that every individual is engaged in some sort of a self-talk, either aloud or silently. Whether awake or asleep. There seems to be some talk going on in the mind. That is why Lord Buddha says that there are a lot of drunken monkeys in a person’s mind. They keep jumping around, chattering and screeching all the time. He suggests taming the mind monkeys is the way to attain inner peace. The practice of meditation and positive self-talk could be helpful in taming the monkeys in the mind.
What is self- talk?
Self-talk definition goes like this. It is the act or practice of talking to oneself, either aloud, silently or mentally. Studies seem to suggest self-talk can be useful. But how? When you practice mindfulness attention, you will understand that you are indulging in some sort of a self-talk. You would notice that you would bee telling yourself what you intend to do the next day, you would be reprimanding yourself for behaving in a certain way, so on and so forth. This is self-talk.
Types of self-talk
There are three types of self-talk.it includes
• Positive self-talk
• Negative self-talk
• Possibility self-talk
What is negative self-talk?
While it is normal to engage in self-talk, you might by chance come across irrational ideas that are reinforced by self-talk. It is called negative self-talk. You should try to avoid it by all means. It is actually very difficult to notice negative self-talk because it actually starts off as a normal self-talk that enables you to feel better when something that you did not wish happens or when you are misunderstood or punished for something you did not do, but later turns into a negative one by repeated and constant reinforcement of that idea. The negative self-talk becomes a habit, catching yourself in the act of engaging in the self-talk is a challenge.
Why should you avoid negative self-talk?
Negative self- task is unrealistic and inaccurate. It instills negative emotions and moods. There is only a thin line that distinguishes cognitive distortions and problems that arise due to negative self-talk. That is why you should keep a watch on negative self – talk and control or prevent it from being disruptive. Negative self-talk of unhelpful nature arises due to the following reasons.
• Mind Reading- This refers to assuming what others thinking a biased and inaccurate manner without any real evidence. For example. your boss has left her sick child under the care of a nanny to attend the presentation you are about to give today. As an anxious parent, she checks the phone often. you immediately assume, she is bored, she does not want to accept that you are efficient. You have every right to engage in self- talk to tides over the disappointment that you were not appreciated for your efforts. But, if you engage in self- talk like the boss is never happy about your work, she does not like you etc. and reinforce, it, you would experience negative emotions and mood often.
• Overgeneralization-This refers to telling yourself that a negative thing that happened now is bound to continue always
• Magnification- This refers to considering your errors and flaws and exaggerating them to the extent that it becomes catastrophic. For example, a small palpitation makes you engage in self-talk like, I might have a heart problem, I might have a heart attack anytime etc.
• Minimization- This is the opposite of Maximization. A good example of this is dismissing the fact that you got an A grade in the exam and indulging in self-talk like you couldn’t score full marks even in the easiest exam.
• Evaluating things- Most often you tend to indulge in negative self- talk because you do not appreciate there is a grey area in anything. You tend to evaluate things as either black or white.
• Personalization- This refers to self-talk that arises because you take responsibility for mistakes that you know happened because of things that are entirely out of your control.
• Labeling – It refers to both describing yourself or others in one extreme way always and that too negatively.
Tiding over negative self-talk
Tiding over negative self-talk is to catch it early. You must then understand that it is not real. Curtail the negativity and change the negativity first to neutrality. You can do this by cross-examining your self-talk. Stop that thought and replace the negative talk with positive talk and thinking.
Positive self-talk is just the opposite of negative self-talk. It will help you feel good about yourself, optimistic and confident. It is also one that would be helpful in tiding over the negative self-talk. Positive self-talk will help you feel confident and would help you travel towards your goal in a controlled manner. Though engaging in Positive self- task is difficult to start but it would become easier and better with time. Positive self-talk example is I am going to make a great presentation as I have prepared well.
This type of self-talk makes you ask questions to yourself. These questions that are forward-focused like How will you get this done? Can you achieve the result in any other way? etc. This will help you to achieve what you want and at the same time help you search through your mental files for evidence that it can be done.
The conclusion is that positive self-talk is good, negative self-talk makes you weak, less creative and could affect you seriously and possibility self-talk is even more useful than positive self-talk and helps you achieve all that you desire.