Inner Dialogue Exercises

Inner Dialogue Exercises

You may not always be aware of your inner thoughts, but they will always exist in the background. The inner dialogue is essentially the communication you have with yourself. It is a tool that can help or hurt your emotional state. What you think or say to yourself affects the way you feel. The concept is simple, but changing the tenor of your self-talk can be difficult.

If you are like most people, your mind will rarely focus on the present moment. Once you have passed from driving from point A to point B and realize on arrival that you were not aware of how you have driven there. This is because you were probably lost in your thoughts, thinking about the past or the future. Speaking to yourself is not necessarily a bad thing. All humans have an internal dialogue. Do not confuse this with the auditory hallucinations of schizophrenia, in which the person thinks that others tell him what he has to do or say. This disease is quite rare and other symptoms must be present to have that diagnosis. The internal dialogue is normal.

Generally, individuals have the same thoughts or show the same pattern over and over again, a situation that psychologists call "reflection." People who suffer from anxiety generally have disturbing and persistent thoughts that lead them to this state. Similarly, depressive individuals are susceptible to bad and melancholic thoughts.

To change your internal dialogue you must discover your thoughts and feelings, a process that is unnatural for most people. Sit quietly and ask yourself what you feel at that moment. It is useful to write everything that comes to your mind. Develop a list of feelings (or verbs that describe them) to help identify the emotions you are experiencing. Once you identify a feeling, keep working on changing what you say to yourself. This process can change the way you feel.

You can use internal dialogue, for example, to deal with stress at work. Perhaps, you and your co-worker were competing for the same job promotion; however, only one could be chosen. When you know that the promotion was for your colleague you will naturally feel bad and disappointed, maybe even upset. Maybe you feel miserable and your self-esteem is low. Now consider an alternative dialogue. Disappointment does not translate into failure. List the positive attributes of your life, such as family, friends and the excellent health you enjoy. Outline an action plan. Make sure you're going to talk to your supervisor to learn how to improve your performance and be considered for the next promotion.

By using a more positive internal dialogue, you will feel empowered and begin to feel good again with yourself. The situation did not change (in fact you have not got the promotion) but you have changed your thinking about the situation. Therefore, changing your internal dialogue changes the way you feel.

Video Tutorial: Internal Dialogue Exercise (Gestalt Therapy).

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