Be Quiet! How to harness your inner conversation.

We often spend time and money learning how to communicate with each other. How often do we stop to consider how we communicate with ourselves?

Take a moment…Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? Do you hear what you are “thinking” about? Meditation seems hard because we think we need silence. Really, it’s about recognizing the thoughts without attaching to them. But that is for a meditation master.

I am talking about paying attention to what we say to ourselves. Because most of the time it is our critic that is chattering:

 

 

  • Who are you to…?
  • What do you know…?
  • What makes you think you can…?
  • You can’t…

 

Image by Thomas Wolter from Pixabay

If you give into that voice, you are in trouble. Sports psychology has done numerous studies demonstrating the effect our self-talk has on our performance. When we say to ourselves we can’t…we can’t. The words we say to ourselves and others literally affect the chemistry of our bodies and that, in turn, affects performance.  Just the word “no” will release a trickle of cortisol and adrenaline. This in turn will signal to our bodies that we are under threat. This will take processing power away from our executive decision center and rush it to the survival centers. We literally cannot be as creative or inspired when we feel threatened. It is important to become aware of the words we say to ourselves so that we don’t become what we fear most.

 

           “We become what we think about most.”

                                          ~ Earl Nightingale

So, the next time that voice pops up, here are some ideas.

  • Become aware of your thoughts. For most of us they are running in the background like elevator music and we are not aware of what we are saying to ourselves. But and this is important, the subconscious mind is aware and it is listening and driving our actions based on those thoughts.

 

  • Question the voice – “Is that true?” “Is that always true?” (Credit to Byron Katie) It’s interesting, when I slow down after making a sweeping statement and ask is that true? The answer is often no.
    • Example: “You haven’t made a sale this quarter so you are no good.”
      • Is that true?
      • Well no last year I beat quota by 20% and the year before that I beat quota also. What can I do now to move forward?

 

  • When you catch yourself in a loop of negative thinking, break the loop and stop ruminating. Stop thinking about all the things that are wrong or that can go bad. Sometimes we need to distract ourselves from the negative thinking so we can start solving the problem. For me, exercise is a great way to shift my energy and thinking.

 

I had a teacher years ago teach us to become aware of our words and, where appropriate, replace those words. She called it re-languaging.  When I heard “I will try,” I would replace that with “I will.” If I heard, “I can’t afford that,” I would re-language that to “I choose to not spend money on that.”

I remember my first Tae Kwon Do tournament; I spent hours mentally rehearsing in my mind what I was going to do. Stance, Block, Kick, every move rehearsed. On the day of the tournament I took first place in forms. Because it happened first in my mind.

When I got fired from my first sales job and started my second, this company had a training program and tapes. Listening and visualizing my success in this new role led me to earning the award for Regional Marketing Manager of the year.

Becoming aware that our thoughts (the inner voice) influences our behavior is first. Then it is working to manage those thoughts so that the ones that serve us are the ones that we listen to.

If you would like to have a conversation about how you communicate with yourself, let’s chat. Here is a link.

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