Negative internal dialogue or self- talk makes us drown in our problems, making them bigger than they are. That is why we must learn to manage this internal conversation, constructively directing our emotions and actions towards the achievement of our goals.
I’m going to ask you to reflect, how many times have you acted according to what you feared would happen? Would you be able to bring to your mind some of those situations where you were already sad before you lost something you expected to lose? And more common still … How many times have you got angry just by attributing the other’s behavior to their bad intentions? Surely your mind does not come only one, but several answers to each of these questions. This is because our brain has a high power over our behavior and emotions.
With the term ‘cognitive content’ we refer to our thoughts, interpretations, expectations and internal self-talk. All this can appear in the format of verbalizations or phrases, as well as in images. When these inner thoughts or dialogues are negative, dramatic and irrefutable (they cannot be contrasted), our interpretation of reality can be distorted, giving rise to emotions and coping modes that are out of step with the real situation that triggers them.
Consequences of Negative Internal Dialogue!
Having negative internal self-talk would only be a matter of opinion, if it were not for the fact that it could have a significant adverse impact on our lives, especially on the emotions experienced and the behaviors that we set in motion. This is because there is a high relationship between how we think (or talk to each other), how we feel and how we behave.
There is a close relationship between our thoughts and emotions. So much so, that cognitive psychology considers that our thoughts, self-talk, and expectations determine our emotional states. In turn, feelings are what drives our behavior. Therefore, an inadequate idea about the situation that we have lived can provoke intense emotional reactions that will give rise to inappropriate actions in the situation that must be faced.
In turn, an ineffective behavior causes our negative thoughts to become accentuated, giving rise to several negative emotions derived from negative self-talk. For examples:
- Anxiety: associated with threatening self-talk or focusing on dangers.
- Sadness: associated with self-talk centered on loss or what I might have.
- Guilt: associated with self-talk related to everything that came out.
- Wrong: lousy intervention on my part, or the absence of it.
- Anger: associated with self-talk centered on everything that blocks my goals or that violates my rights.
- Shame: associated with self-talk focused on my lack of ability to do something I should know how to do.
It is not surprising, since, that the association between negative internal self-talk and emotional disturbances such as anxiety disorders, depression, and problems in social relationships, have a significant impact on the daily life of the individual, and therefore the achievement of positive or constructive internal self-talk is fundamental to being able to face the world in an effective way.