We often quit before we even start because our inner dialogue creates a self-doubt in our effort to try something new. Our productivity can be damaged because of these negative thoughts. Fortunately, you can get this out of your head and get things done.
Ok, let’s do this… Time for work… Working mode activated…
This may happen to you several times a day. You’ll be focused on your work and then what gets in your way is that internal dialogue. This causes the more you have to do, the less you actually do.
This disruption goes further than our inner dialogue. This sabotages our creativity and our productivity. But I’ll be going over some ways to keep that inner dialogue from stop holding you back.
What is this Internal Speech, exactly?
We developed an internal speech at young age, usually by playing with toys or speak for yourself out loud as you're going about your day. This development begins around ages 3 to 5 years old. It’s when we’re adults, do we bring this self talk internally.
Speech that is internal gives us psychological autonomy — our ability to self-regulate. We need that for consciousness and self awareness. It also helps to remember things that take a great deal of memory. We use this internal dialogue every day, all day so it’s always with us.
Internal speech is created by two parts of the brain. The Broca and Wernicke area, named after the two scientists who discovered them. The Broca part’s job is to creation of language and the Wernicke part allows us to understand that language.
The Cognitive Distortions That Hold Us Back
The issue is our mind goes into what we listen to, not just because we have it.
There is a cognitive distortion when our dialogue becomes disruptive and a hindrance. It’s our minds trying to make believe in something that’s not true about yourself or what’s happening around you. Like falling into a negative affirmation such as ‘No one wants to talk to me, therefore I am ugly.’
Below are some common cognitive distortions and the tips to make them stop.
All or Nothing
This is the thinking of seeing things in black and white. There is no gray in how they see the world.
What it sounds like: I didn’t do ___ right, that’s why I didn’t get hired.
Try this instead: Look at the problem from the other side. Ask yourself if you objectively looking at this. Did you really answer badly or just a personality fit? Try your best to avoid these absolute words such as ‘never,’‘always’,‘every’.
This when people believe that when something bad that happened in the past is likely to happen again.
What it sounds like:“I tried riding a roller coaster and I didn't have a good time, so I shouldn’t try again.”
Try this instead: Acknowledge when you’re over generalizing. Think to yourself if the past experience was based on a timely occurrence and how can it be differently again?
Call yourself out when you are over generalizing. Ask if it is fair for you to predict how you will perform today’s task on one or two past experiences.
Discounting the Positive
This is when you brush off positive experiences and focus only on the negative aspects instead.
What it sounds like:“They said they liked my work, but they were probably just trying to be nice because they feel bad for me.”
Try this instead: Ask what would make you happy. What would need to happen in order for you to accept something positive? Try not to disagree with people who are giving you a compliment.
This is when you use how you feel as rationalization for doing or not doing something. Our emotions are inherently subjective and they can hinder our ability to see things from a realistic perspective.
What it sounds like: “I feel so worthless, so I must be worthless.”
Try this instead: As soon as you begin to have these thoughts, stop yourself and question your reasoning. Why do you believe you are stupid? Is this grounded in reality? Recruiting the help of a close friend can help you ground your feelings and gain perspective.
This is what happens when something blame yourself for something that was out of your control.
What it sounds like: If only said ____ she would have stayed.
Try this instead: Think about your feelings about personalization. Is that your responsibility for someone else’s actions or are you just anxious about something else? Sometimes it’s not about us and instead focus on what you do control.
If you find yourself keeping thinking about these errors, remember these three steps:
Being aware of your inner voice is the first step in controlling it. When you think ‘everyone hates me’. When you say those words out loud, what thoughts come into your head? Recognizing your initial thoughts is the first step to changing them.
Watch: Be aware of the words you use. Avoid these absolute and emotionally focused words. Instead of saying ‘hate’ say dislike, This will help you focus on not being so hard on yourself.
When you notice self talk is bring you down, challenge it. Change how you think about things. Instead of saying, “I won’t finish this task” say “How can I finish this task? This will bring you back into power of what you control.
You don’t have to let your self-talk control who you are. By identifying and challenging this thinking can maximize our performance and happiness.
“ I can’t even writing one sentence. I’m the worst writer ever. ”
That thought is not within reality thought this is something every writer as thought to themselves. It’s not that they can write a sentence, but more write a good sentence.
That thought has no basis in reality, though it’s one I’ve had many, many times. It’s not that I can’t actually write a concluding sentence, it’s that I fear what I have done is not good enough.
Stuff like this is also why it’s important to have a friend or people you can talk instead of yourself. It’ll help you realize just how silly you sound and they’ll easily tell you can stop believing in that inner voice.
We’re all a work in progress and it’ll be easier to gain control of that self-talk and continue on with your work.