Internal dialogue, or self-talk, refers to the thoughts and words we have in our own minds. We all experience this internal dialogue, and most of the time, we assign both importance and reality to our thoughts—especially the ones that are critical or judgmental.
It can be helpful to become more aware of your inner conversations to better understand your own thoughts and emotions. This allows you to assess their influence on your behavior, state of mind and well-being.
Here are a few tips for becoming more aware of your internal dialogue:
Pay attention to your thoughts.
Start by simply paying attention to the thoughts that enter your mind. Notice when you have negative or critical thoughts and try to identify patterns or triggers that lead to them.
Being mindful means paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This can help you become more aware of your internal dialogue and understand how your thoughts are affecting your emotions and behavior in that moment.
Keep a journal.
While writing things down can seem daunting, taking a few moments to record your thoughts and feelings will help you become more attentive to them.
Talk to a coach.
A professional coach can help you identify patterns or negativity in your internal dialogue that may be holding you back. A coach can also help you develop strategies for changing your self-talk in ways that improve your overall well-being.
What questions can help you become more aware of your inner dialogue? Try these.
- What thoughts come up most frequently in my mind?
- Are these thoughts positive or negative?
- Do my thoughts align with my values and goals?
- How do my thoughts affect my mood and behavior?
- Are there any patterns or triggers that lead to negative or unhelpful thoughts?
- Is my inner dialogue supportive and caring, or is it judgmental and critical?
- How can I change my inner dialogue to be more positive and helpful?
- What would my life look like if I had a more positive inner dialogue?
- What results could I create with a more conscious, loving and caring dialogue—or simply by being more self-aware?
Asking yourself these questions or journaling about them can help you become more focused on your inner dialogue, identify patterns that may be blocking your potential or enjoyment of life, and become more accountable to thoughts that impact your success or happiness.
Working with a coach is a next step in exploring and changing your inner dialogue. This is particularly helpful when you feel stuck, uncertain, or need an advocate in your corner to think through the process of positive change.