Life of Pi is a 2012 movie based on Yann Martel’s novel with the same name. In the story, the protagonist—Pi Patel—gets stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after disaster strikes. His situation is worsened when he finds out that he has the company of a hyena and a Bengal tiger. The lack of human communication for weeks forces Pi to start practicing self-talk.
We practice and engage in self-talk more often than we realize. It’s something we automatically do during our waking hours. Positive self-talk is a powerful tool and more and more people are becoming aware of it. Read on to see what is positive self-talk and its various benefits.
Meaning Of Self-Talk
We often engage in an internal monologue where our thoughts, emotions and moods come to the forefront. It combines conscious thoughts and unconscious beliefs—providing a way for our minds to process daily information and experiences. Therefore, self-talk refers to this running monologue in our minds that becomes a part of everyday life.
Self-talk can be beneficial or unhealthy—depending on the emotions we’re dealing with or the kind of outlook we have. In other words, you may feel happy and supportive or self-defeating and negative. Oftentimes, we find ourselves fighting internal battles as negative emotions loom large. It’s difficult to foster positive thoughts amidst such complexities. However, we have the power to master positive self-talk through patience and practice.
Is Self-Talk Good For You?
You’ve probably seen athletes and actors talking to themselves in front of a mirror before going out on the field or the set. Research suggests that talking to yourself increases performance and overall well-being. Here are some common benefits of self-talk.
Helps you develop a positive outlook on life
Reduces mental or emotional pain and suffering
Helps you feel calm by minimizing stress and anxiety
Improves physical well-being and cardiovascular health
Provides greater life satisfaction, which can also reflect in professional life
How To Identify Positive Self-Talk?
Self-talk can be positive or negative and paying attention can help you tackle life’s challenges better. Let’s start by differentiating the two.
It refers to any inner dialogue where we struggle to believe in ourselves and our abilities. It prevents us from making any positive changes in our lives and from utilizing our true potential. It often arises from self-doubt and misconceptions that lead to misinformation. We’re often quick to jump to conclusions and imagine the worst possible outcome in any situation. Here’s what negative self-talk often looks like:
I am not good enough
Others can do it better than me
They won’t like me
A great way to tackle negative self-talk and intentionally fill our thoughts with optimism and joy is to practice positive self-talk. It doesn’t mean that we need to engage in narcissism or deceive ourselves into inaccurate thinking. It simply means showing self-compassion, trust and understanding. Simply put, you have your back. Consider these positive self-talk examples any time you doubt your capabilities:
I’m going to speak up because I have something important to contribute
It was a mistake; I shouldn’t be so hard on myself
I can do better next time
Language matters when you practice talking to yourself. Being thoughtful of your choice of words improves the way you communicate or view yourself.
How To Practice Positive Self-Talk
Now that we’ve established the importance of self-talk, let’s see how you can actively work towards developing positive thoughts. It’s important to remember that there isn’t any fixed way of going about this but consider these strategies the next time you’re feeling down or just need to give yourself a pep talk.
Keep It Real
Oftentimes, when engaging in positive affirmations, we tend to sound forced or inauthentic. You may be telling yourself ‘I can do it’ but may not be feeling it inside. Self-talk only works when there is less resistance and your mind is willing to accept it. For example, instead of saying ‘I will definitely do a good job’, try saying ‘I will give my best and see what happens’. Find the words that resonate with your inner feelings.
Walk The Talk
Talking to yourself positively is one thing and backing it up with new habits and behavior is another. If you really want transformative results, continue to engage in behaviors and actions that’ll help you feel and do better. It will become easier to integrate positive affirmatives and you’ll see a tangible change in your attitude and actions. For example, you feel bad about procrastinating but what are you doing to manage your time better? Are you organizing and prioritizing your tasks? Ask yourself relevant questions to track your progress.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Change is hard and changing habits and adopting new behaviors is especially harder. Try not to change too many things about yourself at once. Figure out where your priorities lie and address those areas for self-improvement. Instead of doing something half-heartedly, make sure that you follow through and work on that aspect completely. You can even start by focusing on just one area, think about how you feel about it and come up with positive statements. This will get the ball rolling and once you have momentum, you can integrate the same energy in other areas as well.
Take A Step Back
Self-reflection is an important aspect of self-talk. There is a tendency to collect and reflect on past events and information with a biased outlook. This is why it’s difficult to focus on the situation as is because negative impressions overshadow them. If you want to get a more balanced perspective, you need to look at situations objectively. It’s important to take a step back and shift your perspective. For example, if you don’t meet a project deadline, try not to focus on only the bad aspects. Instead, understand what went wrong and why and the steps you can take to prevent it from repeating in the future.
Question Your Thoughts
Always remember that your thoughts aren’t necessarily facts. The way you view something might be completely recontextualized when viewed by another person. When negative thoughts emerge, ask yourself if they are accurate and factually true. A majority of positive affirmations involve recognizing that thoughts are just mental events. For example, “yes, I’ve been unproductive today but I’ve still managed to cover some ground. I will definitely try to wrap up by tomorrow.”
Cut The Constant Comparison
The grass is greener on the other side—is an undeniable feeling, especially in professional life. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others and feeling frustrated about the lack of various things in our lives. Instead of focusing on what your friends or peers have, try celebrating what you have. Try to replace your comparison tendencies with feelings of happiness for the other person. For example, take joy in your coworker’s promotion and celebrate with them.
Give Yourself Another Chance
We’re often harsh on ourselves because of setbacks and failures. Holding yourself to high standards can be a good motivator but too much of it can affect you negatively. Learn to cut yourself some slack—not only does it minimize unhealthy thoughts; it also improves your emotional well-being. Learn to forgive yourself and put your mistakes behind you. For example, a mistake on your part ticked off your client and they want to cancel the deal. Instead of focusing only on the negatives, check if there are ways to solve it. Ask your friends or colleagues if needed.
The messages you tell yourself influences the way you think, react or behave with others. But what is positive self-talk without engaging in self-knowledge and awareness? Harappa’s Interpreting Self course is designed to help you identify your strong points and define your aspirations. Learn how to leverage your strengths and focus on the things that work out for you. Foster self-awareness by seeking feedback and reflecting on insights for personal development. The Kaleidoscope framework in particular will help you reflect on different aspects of behaviors and actions. Join this self-knowledge course today to discover your best possible self!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the LEAD Habit such as What is Self-Motivation, How to Develop Self-Awareness and Guide to Personal SWOT Analysis to become the best version of yourself.
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