Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Words We Tell Ourselves

by Judy

You know that tiny little voice inside our heads that can affect our mood and self confidence? Our so called 'self-talk?'  If that voice is telling you that you did a good job, or that you look great today, well, that's a good thing.  But I've learned that much of our self talk tends to be negative. Instead of saying you did a good job, your little voice could be telling you that you blew it, and you're never going to get recognized at work. Or maybe it's telling you that you will never be able to finish the half marathon that you're running, and that you're such a loser for not making enough time to properly train for it. 

We all know that trying to change our self talk from negative to positive is a step in the right direction, and is certainly a far better way to view ourselves and the world around us.  However, I recently learned that negative self talk actually releases destructive neurochemicals in our bodies.

Here's an excerpt from an article in Psychology Today, written by M.D.'s Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg:

"If I were to put you into an MRI scanner - a huge donut-shaped magnet that can take a video of the neural changes happening in your brain - and flash the word "NO" for less than one second, you'd see a sudden release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of your brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.
In fact, just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a person feel worse, and the more you ruminate on them, the more you can actually damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions. You'll disrupt your sleep, your appetite, and your ability to experience long term happiness and satisfaction.
If you vocalize your negativity, or even slightly frown when you say "no," more stress chemicals will be released, not only in your brain, but in the listener's brain as well. The listener will experience increased anxiety and irritability, thus undermining cooperation and trust.  In fact, just hanging around negative people will make you more prejudiced toward others!"

Did this information surprise you as much as it did me? I never knew that negative thoughts and words could cause so much stress and damage! 
The good news is that this same article tells us that positive thinking 'propels the motivational centers of the brain into action, and that regular positive thinking about yourself helps to develop lifelong satisfaction.' 
If your 'self-talk' tends to lean toward the negative, why not change that starting today? Let's be nice to ourselves. Let's treat ourselves like a best friend. Let's focus on 'happy' and 'grateful,' and 'I am enough!' 


Dotti said...

Powerful message today, Judy! I've longed believed that a positive attitude is more healthy than a negative one and have tried to be a 'glass half full' kind of gal but it doesn't always work. There are some real words and wisdom to ponder in your post today and a great take on our theme this months. Words do matter ... to everyone.

terriporter said...

I am awesome! Yes, I can! I am enough! I have read also that positive self talk is so much better for us than negative and that the negative can actually be detrimental to our health. Why do we find it so hard to do? I don't know but I think it is something we need to strive for. Love your photo with all that gorgeous bokeh!

leigh said...

Such a great post Judy! I've learned a lot about self talk in the last 6 months and I'm finally learning how to turn it off. Makes all the difference in the world!

Deanna said...

We just this week talked about positive self-image and are we comfortable in our own bodies in Bible Study. Needless to say, we all have or had issues (negatives) with ourselves. This was a great re-enforcement to be positive and push away the negatives in our lives!!

Kim Stevens said...

I've read that for every negative comment made to children that it takes 10 positive to correct it...I think it makes sense that it would be the same for us. I've left the TV off during the day now for nearly two years, and I don't listen to the news on the TV. I find the more I don't listen to negative things, the more I don't want to hear it. But, for some reason that rule doesn't apply to the things I tell myself - I need to fix that!

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