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Most of us go about our day without a lot of awareness of what we are telling ourselves about ourselves. Our constant internal dialogue, however, shapes our everyday experiences for better or for worse. The way we talk to ourselves affects our whole being and our well-being.

As you refine your self-talk you will begin to notice how it shapes your inner world as well as your outer world.

By listening and observing our self-talk habits, we can become more familiar with this inner language, which will allow us to shift our thoughts and align our inner talk with what we want to create around us.

Checking In

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The first step is to create a spacious, non-judgmental environment so you can check in and observe. One way to do this is through relaxation practices and meditation. Both of these calming techniques help to cultivate a quiet mind in a way that is free from attachment and judgment. Once you have practiced being quiet and observing your mind, you are ready to continue this practice in your daily life. Check in with your self talk throughout the day as you interact with those around you. Remember to infuse your listening with compassion and non-judgment. The more you check in, the more skilled you will become at noticing your inner language. “What am I saying about myself and about others?”

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Turning the Negative to Positive

The next step is to reframe the language that isn’t supportive or productive with more positive self-talk. In the Yoga tradition there is a sutra that states, “When faced with negative thoughts and emotions, cultivate the opposite.” This takes some conscious effort but once you begin this practice it starts to feel natural and uplifting. It doesn’t mean that you should ignore or push away disquieting thoughts; instead work with them with great care and consideration. Think about how a mother would speak to a small child when the child is acting out. There should be a quality of love and compassion that we extend to ourselves in this process.

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If you find yourself speaking badly, observe what may be contributing to this kind of talk. From there you are free to shift your thinking. You may want to ask yourself “How would I say this to someone I love dearly?” As you refine your self-talk you will begin to notice how it shapes your inner world as well as your outer world.

Recently a friend said to me, “I have been through a lot and I am going to get through this with ease and grace. This is a healing opportunity for me.” This thought may have started, as “I can’t do this! It’s too much for me! I’m afraid.” We all have these thoughts but when we make them conscious, they can free us to imagine something different for ourselves. I know my friend consciously reshaped his thinking to be more supportive of the difficulties he has been facing over the past few months. His optimistic outlook came through in his voice and I felt the buoyancy of his words.

Practicing relaxation and meditation help us unwind from our habits and patterns through non-judgmental observation. Our own conscious efforts then allow us to reimagine our self-talk and take the process even deeper. Start with something simple. Maybe just a thought you are having about your work. “ I don’t enjoy this project; it’s making me sick and crazy.” We’ve all had days like this. Start to look at what you might create if you really believe this. Chances are you are overwhelmed and exhausted. Think of how you could reframe your thoughts, and lift yourself up.

How can you reshape your inner dialogue so it becomes a powerful healing tool?

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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