Have you ever had one of these inner rabbit-hole monologue moments?
“Oh, that was really dumb.”
“I know this is going to turn out to be a bad day.”
“Ugh! I can’t do anything right.”
We all engage in self-talk. Mastering your inner narrative as you scale your business matters in achieving high levels of performance.
Scientists have found how people conduct their inner conversations can have a significant effect on their success. They discovered that using self-talk is not a pop psychology method, rather is a powerful instrument.
When used in very specific ways and times, your inner narrative can free the brain to perform optimally. According to an article in Psychology Today, “by toggling the way we address the self – first person or third- we flip a switch in the cerebral cortex, the center of thought, and another in the amygdala, the seat of fear, moving closer to or further from our sense of self and all its emotional intensity.”
Self-talk starts during the toddler years and is influenced as you begin to articulate tasks aloud and learn from your caretakers. You may talk through tasks and as that task is mastered, self talk is internalized until it is silent.
According to the study, there are nuances to this developmental process. In the best circumstances, the caregivers teach children a useful, step-by-step language for mastering tasks. The children use the language in their inner dialog particularly if they run into trouble and use the words taught by their caregivers, “You can do it-try again.”
Conversely, if they are exposed to impatient caretakers prone to outbursts, they set up children for self-defeating self-talk. Children exposed to these teachers learn the language of frustration and get mad at themselves the minute they feel confused using the inner narrative, like “You’re an idiot, you can’t get it right.”
Your blueprint for the inner narrative is created as a child and is deeply rooted as an adult. These words are wired into your brain early on and exist in the primitive limbic brain, seated in the amygdala, where your emotional memories take shape.
When it comes to self-talk, a University of Michigan study found that when using one’s first name minimizes social anxiety and can help exert high levels of self-discipline even under difficult circumstances.
In the study, 89 men and women were asked to give a speech about why they were ideally qualified to land their dream job. Their preparation time was five minutes.
Half were instructed to use only pronouns to describe themselves. The other half were told to use their given name.
Interestingly, those in the pronoun group were stuck in anxiety about the speech. Those who used their names felt less anxious feeling highly confident. “You can do it, Ethan,” was a typical inner narrative leading up to the speech. When judged by independent evaluators, it turns out that those who used their name during their inner monologue also performed better on the speech.
According to the study, to switch your brain out of the rumination rabbit hole, use your first name. What seems like an impossibility, a threat, or a demanding task can then show up as a challenge that can be overcome.
The study goes on to assert that when dealing with strong emotional events, taking a step back and becoming an unattached observer can be helpful. It’s easy to give advice to your friends; yet, when it comes to yourself, you have difficulty.
When using your first name with your inner narrative, you become slightly unattached (not detached) so that you can perform. A word of caution is suggested. As much as using your first name with your inner dialog can self-manage and increase your cognitive capability, don’t use it to avoid your emotions.
Change a word and you change your brain. Used correctly, your inner narrative can help you overcome the rumination rabbit hole and focus your thinking and actions to conquer emotional and difficult tasks. Try it and see what happens.
P.S. Interested in scaling your business? Early registration is happening through August 31, 2018 for the Wake Up Profitable Boot Camp for Business Owners on October 4-5, 2018 at the Business Innovation Lab in Livonia, MI. READ MORE.