How often do you daydream about talking to someone else, or simply talking to yourself imagining situations? Maybe you notice yourself moving your lips or making hand gestures when you get carried away… you’re not the only one, I do it all the time and speak to clients frequently that worry they’re crazy! But you’re not. You’re simply good at imagining things visually and need audio input to make sense of things. Sometimes working through a conversation in your head can be really helpful, and other times it can lead you completely astray. Don’t fall into the latter, recognise these thought pattern road blocks and overcome them so you can use your colourful brain to your advantage.
We all self-talk. We’re just doing it wrong.
Whether you’re an avid inner conversationalist or only on occasion have a chat in your head, we all have a running commentary in our head of how we’re living life. But, the important thing here is to use our self-talk to our advantage. Too often we believe everything we think, and we begin to absorb ourselves into these imagined situations like they already exist. For example, I used to really hate going to work, and I would imagine being at my desk and having a conversation with my boss about my workload. It didn’t ever go down well in my imagination, even though I’d alter the conversation every time. I’d get a physical, emotional response and start to get anxious whenever I thought of work and the growing workload I was experiencing. This is a perfect example doing self-talk wrong.
I had the option of going over and over the conversation in my head. I could think of every possible, anxiety filled outcome or I could decide on what outcome and imagine that instead. I could choose not to involve the other person (because we never have control over exactly what they choose to say) and instead decide on how I wanted to act. And whenever I found myself imagining that situation again, I could go back to the outcome that I enjoyed and felt I had control over.
How to stop doing self-talk wrong
The problem is though, we often have cognitive distortions that stop us finding this very easy. We then end up going back into our old habits of thinking negatively and imagining us missing our flight, hating our new job, or getting into some sad accident. All this does is makes us worry, and stops us living in the beauty that life is. So if you’re talking to yourself imagining situations, and you typically find yourself overthinking so much that you worry, you’ll want to check out these 3 common cognitive distortions so we can stop doing self-talk wrong.
This cognitive distortion makes us believe we know what the other person is thinking. And whilst it’s entirely possible to have a bit of an idea about what another person is thinking, we can never really know. It also becomes a problem when we assume the other person is thinking negatively, and jumping to that conclusion can lead us to feeling stress, anxiety and all sorts of negative emotions.
This is a really common distortion and often comes to play when you are talking to yourself imagining situations. If you find yourself typically mind reading and assuming you know what other people are thinking, give this a go.
Mind read like a boss
If you’re going to imagine and assume you know what someone is thinking, why not imagine a beautiful and positive situation? Imagine the other person thinks you’re awesome, and capable and gorgeous. Fill your beautiful mind with positive people that encourage you and support you and tell you great things about yourself. The difficult part here is becoming aware of when you’re mind reading, or thinking negatively. A thought journal is really powerful here – just whip out a note on your phone and every time you catch yourself thinking negatively, write down that thought. Give it a go!
This ones amusing, because quite often we don’t know we’re doing it, or that it’s harming us. This is the distortion that we blame ourselves for no real reason. You might think that a friend is in a mood because of something you said, or your team failed because of something you in particular did. It can get so extreme that you start to blame yourself for every bad mood or sign of stress in those around you.
Be the sunshine when there isn’t one
If you’re one that typically takes everything personally, and believes you’re the one to blame for small things, give this a go. Instead of assuming you’ve impacted people negatively, imagine that you’ve done the opposite. Maybe they were previously in a really bad mood, and you in-fact helped to life it. Switch it around so you start to believe you have a positive impact on people, and your small gestures are in-fact making them happier.
This one is so common, that it feels too easy to believe. Emotional reasoning is the distortion that we feel it, so it must be true. Typically when you talk to yourself imagining situations, you get some sort of physical response. A butterfly in your stomach, frustration in your chest, a tightness in your shoulders. The beautiful thing is though, thoughts and feelings are not facts. And they can quite often be distortions when we start to believe our emotions are exact reflections of our reality.
Tap into your emotions for the good
If you’re an emotional reasoner (like me), you can still use this to your advantage. Instead of talking to yourself imagining situations that don’t feel good, switch it on it’s head and visualise a really powerful outcome. Visualise yourself boarding the plane with ease, visualise yourself having an empowering conversation with your boss, visualise laughing and smiling throughout your day. Embrace the positive emotions and allow them to lead your way.
Start doing self-talk right
We all self-talk, and some of us love talking to ourselves imagining situations. If you’re one of the unlucky ones that have plenty of cognitive distortions, or they alter the way you view the world, these tips will help you to see things straight again. Your brain can be a really positive place, you just need to re-train it and make your self-talk work for you.
And make it even easier, by working on your self-talk with me and my leading ladies over in Yoga LIVE. Each week we get together and work out any negative habits, with monthly challenges to keep us progressing for $10 a month. You deserve to live in a world where your brain encourages and supports you. Help yourself to see that by joining us here.