The way you speak to yourself matters.
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First up: what is self-talk?
Hello Dan, you rule. Your cat loves you, you’re having a good hair day, and 100% of people who read this week's newsletter got 1 friend to join cos they think your weird sense of humour is on point too.
Oh sorry, just practicing some positive self-talk. The way you respond to thoughts, actions, and everything in your life is considered self-talk. When your self-talk is negative, it can have harmful consequences and even lead to situations classified as cognitive distortions.
Cognitive distortion is a thought pattern that gets exaggerated or is irrational, eventually contributing to the onset of depression or anxiety.
A (hypothetical) example: my business partner Joel just put his noise-cancelling headphones on across from me. Negative self-talk would say “I must be annoying Joel with all my algae facts today.” Perpetuation of this self-talk would take me on a downward spiral, creating a thought pattern that takes me further and further from reality.
Which is (to clarify) that Joel and I are all good (right, Joel?).
He still has his headphones on as I write this, but there’s also drilling across the street so, you know. Probably not personal.
How to break out of negative self talk
Like I just did in my hypothetical example, you’ve got to set the intention to never take sides against yourself. Then, put this to practice every time a thought occurs.
SCENARIO: The train is late and you might miss your meeting.
Don’t do this: “I’m an idiot. I should have taken an earlier train. The people I’m meeting are going to think I don’t have my shit together.” (PS sorry mum)
Do this: “The train’s punctuality is out of my control. It’s not a reflection of anything to do with me or the way I run my life. This happens to everyone.”
How to start
Start small. Choose one aspect of your life (e.g. taking feedback at work personally), then notice your reactive thoughts and reframe them.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, and then apply to more areas over time!
FOR THE NERDY: You've got this [source: Psychology Today]