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The soundtrack to your life

Welcome to Love Mondays, a weekly newsletter designed as a 3-minute hit to fire up the other 10,077 minutes of your week.

What is the soundtrack to your life?

When someone mentioned self-talk to me a decade ago I nearly choked on my coffee. Like a watered-down version of Al Pachino in Taxi Driver? No waaaay. I’m not looking in the mirror doing self-talk. Until I realised I was subliminally drip-feeding self-talk unintentionally most of the time and swallowing it without a second thought.

There is a soundtrack to your days, like a radio left on in another room, tuning into what’s playing can be the difference between busting out the moves or going through the motions.

What self-talk soundtrack are you choosing to listen to this week?

(Write it down)

Consider: what you say to yourself when no one is listening

Practice: speaking to yourself as someone who loves you and wants to see you succeed

Decide to: write a script and follow it each morning (mirror-gazing is optional).

Inner speech and the asymmetry between positive and negative self-verbalisations

Why do we deal out and accept negative self-statements so much more readily than positive statements? This counterintuitive asymmetry sees negative inner speech have significantly more influence than positive self-talk on coping. Simply put, imagining the worst through pessimistic inner speech has more impact than thinking positively. This fact clearly goes against our popular belief in positive thinking and suggests that eradicating negative verbalisations might be even more efficient than formulating positive ones. Studies that measure cognitive change confirm that negative thoughts tend to decline while positive thoughts do not increase.

The upshot? Self-talk is about putting in place a placeholder to keep unconscious negative commentary out. Being content relies on being aware of our content.

Love your Mondays.