There is a high chance that you talk to yourself throughout the day whether you’re aware of it or not—everything from “I’m going to be late!” to “Should I wear this dress?” to “I’m so behind at work” have likely crossed your mind pretty often. However, have you ever said such phrases out loud? If your answer is yes, you’re not crazy.
According to Lisa Ferentz, clinical social worker, psychotherapist, expressing some inner thoughts out loud can actually help you better conquer the present and future and is something we should all start doing.
Ferentz employs this practice most often when it comes to helping her clients develop a positive outlook about themselves and the day ahead. “There’s nothing more important than the way we talk to ourselves because that inner monologue informs in subtle and not-so-subtle ways all our subsequent thoughts, emotional states, and behavioral choices,” she says.
What this means is that if you’re constantly critical, judgmental, or facing the day with a negative attitude, you’re making it pretty hard for yourself to encounter positivity down the line.
A good way to adopt a healthy mental state is to write down what you’re grateful for, your own strengths, and positive affirmations; then stand in front of a mirror and say those things out loud. If you feel silly, don’t give up. Like anything else, once you practice and approach it from a positive place, you discover it’s quite easy to do. It guides our life whether we’re conscious of it or not.
As a matter of fact, one study from the University of Lethbridge found that students who were taught how to engage in positive versus negative self-talk were able to change their perspectives, attitudes, and reactions.
Researchers also encourages people to whisper aloud pep talks or explore their thoughts and feelings heading into a potentially intimidating, threatening, or overwhelming situation.
By saying something positive to yourself, you have more strength and courage to meet a challenging scenario head on. That sentiment echoes research that has found athletes are often fans of self-talk ahead of competitions.
That however doesn’t mean you can’t mutter aloud your frustrations, too. Just like there’s a place for positive self-talk, there’s also a place for negative if you approach it the right way. Saying negative thoughts out loud can be very validating.
Bringing the negative stuff you’re thinking and feeling to the surface then gives you the opportunity to reevaluate it. Once you voice what’s bothering you, try asking yourself if it’s useful to keep holding on to those thoughts or if it’s something you can process and then let go of.
So next time you hold a little two-way conversation with yourself, don’t worry, you’re perfectly OK.