Most of us monitor what movies or TV shows we are willing to watch. Certainly, if we are parents, we are responsible for monitoring what our children view. We want to watch shows of high quality, for example. We may also want to limit our viewing to shows that are morally uplifting, teach us something or expand our worldview.
But what about the show playing inside of our own heads? Do you ever consider your own self-talk? Self-talk is the running conversation that is happening in the brains of most of us at any given moment. Our minds continuously play a conversation or chatter, if you will. It may abate or slow down when we are meditating but usually it will resume the minute we stop.
Like the shows we watch, we have control over what our minds dwell on or think about. What goes on within our own minds is even more important than what we put into our minds. Good mental health requires that we monitor our self-talk in ways that are positive and beneficial to us.
The Mayo Clinic offers an excellent definition of healthy self-talk: what you say to yourself should be no different than what you would be willing to say to someone else. In other words, we should be at least as kind to ourselves as we would be to someone else.
Regardless what has happened to us in our lives, we have a responsibility to heal ourselves. Healthy self-talk habits are no different than other habits we discipline ourselves to do. We do laundry, cook, clean, and participate in other activities because we have created habits of living over time. Creating good thinking habits is no different.
However, if you experience intrusive thoughts that won’t diminish over time you may be experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Consult a therapist or psychologist for diagnosis and the many new ways of healing this disorder.
But otherwise, one habit or technique helpful to creating more positive self-talk is to start with gratitude and non-discursive prayer or meditation – and a reminder that nothing is ever wasted, no matter how painful or messy it seems at the moment.
What about you? What positive self-talk habits to you employ?