As a language teacher, I have always thought that communication and the type of language we use when talking to ourselves and others play a vital role in our lives and relationships. Verbal and non-verbal communication are both essential and determines what success we can achieve in our life.
People who are primarily very rational and work in the field of science or engineering also must improve their communication skills if they want to work effectively with their colleagues, especially if they get into a leadership position. So communication and the development of communication skills are inevitable in our life.
The person with whom we carry on the most communication is ourselves. We are in our heads. The language we use is more crucial than you might think in creating our experience and controlling our thought patterns. Our thought patterns influence our behaviour. Do you speak negatively to yourself? How does this affect you and your experience? We all have moments where our negative thoughts and self-talk determine our feelings.
However, we can learn to change our negative self-talk into positive self-talk and create a more positive experience. We can learn specific techniques to change our negative language and encourage more positive thinking changing our life for a better one.
Positive self-talk is more important now than ever. Nowadays, it can be hard to stay aware of the world keeping positive thinking while listening to the news.
With the help of verbal and non-verbal communication, we can express what we are feeling and thinking. The way we speak to ourselves determines our behaviour.
Language has a much more significant effect on us than we might realise. It defines our experience and therefore affects what we believe.
What is self-talk?
Self-talk is our internal monologue, including what we say to ourselves both consciously and subconsciously. It is a running dialogue in our heads.
The language we use when we speak to ourselves without giving it much attention has a remarkable impact on us that we realise. What we tell ourselves directly affects how we feel and behave.
What are the benefits of positive self-talk?
Studies have shown that positive self-talk help with our work performance, learning, self-awareness, and managing stress.
HOW CAN WE MODIFY OUR LANGUAGE TO REWRITE OUR BELIEF SYSTEM?
TIP 1: USE PAST TENSE INSTEAD OF PRESENT TENSE
One of the easy but effective ways of rewriting our belief system is when we make any negative sentence about ourselves, put it from present tense to past tense because any tense we speak to ourselves in that’s what our brains believe to be true.
Our brain is very similar to Google Search. In Google Search, you will find the answer if you ask a question. If you tell something to your brain, it will believe you. If you say: “I am idle!” Your brain will believe it. If you say this in past tense: “I used to be idle!” Your brain will believe that you are no longer idle; you were inactive in the past, but now you are not.
Speaking about ourselves, our bad habit in the past tense opens up new opportunities for the future. It stops us from remaining stuck where we are because it tricks our brains into thinking we no longer have this problem. It opens up new doors for us.
“I used to be lazy, but now I am hard-working; I do many things.”
(Your brain will believe it, and you can feel that your energy level rises.)
TIP2: CREATE IDENTITY STATEMENTS
Let’s create identity statements with our language. Our language determines our identity. If you want to give up eating sugar and you say:
I’m trying not to eat sugar.
I’m not eating sugar at the moment.
I haven’t eaten sugar for 6 months.
These statements are not the most powerful language. They are very weak. We need to learn how to change these statements into powerful formats.
So, if you are trying to give up eating sugar, what is the most powerful statement you could make? How can you say in the most effective way to affect your beliefs and therefore affect your behaviour?
Eating sugar is just an example, but you can use it for anything in life.
If you haven’t eaten sugar for 3 days. The most powerful identity statement is:
I don’t eat sugar.
If you want to trick your brain so that you have a new identity as a person who doesn’t eat sugar, the best identity statement is…
I don’t eat sugar.
Use your language very wisely. It’s a lot more powerful than we think!
TIP3: USE MODAL VERBS OF POSSIBILITY INSTEAD OF MODAL VERBS OF NECESSITY
Write out your inner talk exactly as you hear/see them. It is essential that you keep the syntax as is. Then check what modal operators you use in your internal talk.
If in your self-talk you use modal verbs of necessity such as need, must, should, and ought and their negative forms) like:
I need to do this.
I must learn.
They should behave appropriately.
You ought to think this.
Using these modal verbs of necessity shows that you follow the rules set by someone else and feel required to do it. In other words, what you are doing is not a choice for you but a displeasing task. You are passive, and the external environment dictates the action.
However, using modal verbs of possibility stated positively supports positive inner talk and opens choices.
I can do it.
I could try it.
I know I will be able to pass this exam.
But in negative forms, the modal verbs of possibility restrict and limit choices.
I can’t do this.
So, changing the syntax of how you talk to yourself will make a difference in the result and emotions.