"Who do you talk to the most across your day?" I pose this question during my communication and resiliency coaching sessions. There are varying replies - my partner, our customers, my friend - only a few come up with the correct answer.
You talk more to yourself than every other person combined.
Talking to yourself can be expressed as; a thought, an idea, rationalising a situation, a voice inside our head, and many other descriptions. They all have the same meaning, it is best described I think as self-talk. You are doing it right now as you read this post - some of you will be agreeing and may even be nodding your head as you read, others will be disagreeing and may stop reading now because you don't like what I am saying.
When you 'think' about something, you are too a large extent, talking to yourself.
Hence, it is very important to firstly be aware of your thoughts. You may have heard the saying, "You are what you think you are", or "You can do anything you put your mind to", or maybe "If you think you can or you think you can't you are right".
The mind is a powerful tool, you can use it to achieve wonderful things - overcome fears, control pain, change unwanted habits, reach goals, and even to dive down into depression. I bet you didn't see that coming, now what are you thinking right now? How's the self-talk?
When we let our thoughts get away on us, it will often focus on the negative. Your brain has a negative bias which means that you focus for a lot of your day on what could go wrong rather than what went right. Your brain is wired to look after you by searching for danger and to admonish you when you do something wrong.
As you search for danger, you talk to yourself. When you do something wrong, you may later be filled with guilt and regret. That's your negative bias at work.
We have over 70,000 thoughts each day, isn't that crazy? That's why it is important to be aware of your thoughts and to stop them when they go down the negative stream. Why, because your brain also is wired to exaggerate the negative, to catastrophise. It is also designed to over-think, to predict, to self-blame, there's apparently 50 of them.
Think back to the last time you worried about something, the longer you pondered over it, the worse it seemed. And did what you were worried about eventuate, no. If it did, it was never as bad as you thought. Am I right? It's not magic, it's human behaviour.
It's more than just a thought, self-talk can change your life, for better or for worse.
Next week I will give you some simple tips on how to identify your thoughts, how to stop over-thinking, how to stop worrying, how to change your habit, and how to use your thoughts in a positive way.