We know that words are powerful and that what we say to others can affect them. But our self-speak, – or inner dialogue – that is made up of instructions or observations, can be just as much, if not more, impactful. This is because it dictates how we see and interact with the world around us.
Sadly, our self-speak can often be negative, wreaking havoc on our self-esteem. As humans, we are good at internalising what people have said to and about us, which can change our mindsets and how we view ourselves. This is not only destructive on a psychological level, leading to a lack of confidence and self-love, but can trickle over into other areas of our lives as well, such as how you interact with people or deal with life’s difficulties.
But if your inner voice is an overly-critical one, there is hope! One study indicated that practising compassionate self-talk was effective in bringing about positive cognitive and behavioural change. Here are five ways to reframe your thinking and show yourself some much-needed kindness.
1. Change the way you talk
The things that we say out loud often have a direct correlation with the way we talk to ourselves. When we feel bad, it can result in negative thoughts and negative actions. But, we still have a choice, and choosing the path of optimism when engaging with those around you not only makes others feel brighter but can make your interactions more pleasurable, enhance your relationships and boost your mood.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others
In this day and age, with unrealistic beauty standards and the pressure to appear perfect on social media, it’s no surprise that so many people struggle with ‘status anxiety’ and poor body image. When you play the comparison game it’s easy to feel negative about your life. So try to recognise your unique strengths and remind yourself of your worth.
3. Question your thoughts
Sure, it might be coming from your own brain, but don’t believe everything you think! Our thoughts are just that – they are not facts! Next time something negative pops into your head, take a minute to question whether it is fair, accurate and balanced. Try to give yourself props for what you have achieved rather than comparing your life to others. You are on your own journey – embrace it!
4. Make sure that your self-speak is authentic
It would be unrealistic to expect that we should always be content in life. Sometimes, when we force ourselves to think positively, it can feel contrived and be ineffective. In these cases, change the way you speak so that it resonates with you. For example, if ‘I love myself’ feels inauthentic, ‘I am working on loving myself more’ could be a more suitable replacement.
5. Count your blessings
Life comes with its fair share of challenges. But, very often, when we put our problems into perspective, we realise that they can be overcome. If your thoughts are dark, try to find the positive in your life and recognise just how much there is to be grateful. Start a gratitude journal is a good way to take the time to reflect and can help you to improve your attitude and encourage positive self-speak.
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