Chances are your inner voices are talking to you right now. Reminding you to pick up the dry cleaning and feed the cat, to finish the deadline and pay the bills. But, if you’ve just had a fight with your spouse or you are under pressure at work, your self-talk might be saying something different, something a little more negative or even downright rude.
It’s not a problem to have our inner voices chiming in throughout the day. Positive self-talk can be helpful and healthy. But, we do need to pay attention to what we are saying to ourselves.
What are the Inner Voices Saying?
Inner voices that are loaded with irrational beliefs or derogatory comments can keep us from doing our best. They also contribute to rising stress levels, a lack of concentration and even plummeting self-confidence.
The good stuff, on the other hand, self-talk with thoughts expressed in a reassuring and confident way, can give us a boost. It offers reminders — keep your arm straight, or talk slow — that can aid our performance. Its encouraging voices — you’ve got this, just have fun, you are going to do great — also infuse our bodies with positive feelings and attitudes that help us overcome our nerves to excel.
Top Performance Aid
Positive self-talk proved to be the top performance-enhancing strategy, according to researcher Randall Masciana, who evaluated a variety of techniques including visualization. Other research with Olympic athletes showed that those who performed best, had the most positive self-talk despite obstacles and intense external pressure.
When researchers studied corporate managers they discovered self-talk had a powerful role in business as well. Those that had more positive or constructive self-talk were more effective leaders.
So what are you saying to yourself? If it’s not encouraging, uplifting, motivating it’s bringing you down. Time to make a self-talk switcheroo. In Wednesday’s post, I’ll tell you how to do it.
For now, simply pay attention to those inner voices. If they are sassy or rude, demeaning or condescending, change the subject and the language. You don’t need that.
Talk to yourself as you would a friend and you’ll begin to feel and perform better.
In another note: A couple of weeks ago I noticed some vibrant images in a Facebook post and I tracked down the artist Erin Cairney White. Her images are so hopeful and inspiring that I asked if I could feature them, from time to time, here, on Imperfect Spirituality. She agreed and today I am excited to feature Erin’s work here for the first time.
Erin Cairney White uses mixed media – acrylic paints, gelatos and a variety of papers, inks and stamps to create her work from her Snohomish, Washington studio. She is a wife and mother of four who also teaches art classes and works with educators in the Snohomish School District to support special needs students. Her original artwork is available through the little details company.