How To Change Your Inner Dialogue

How To Change Your Inner Dialogue

When it comes to our physical health, our emotional health plays an essential role. Our inner dialogue or what we say to ourselves is of crucial importance. It really can make or break us. It can build us up, break us down, cause us to fail or help us to exceed our wildest dreams. Our mindset is crucial to the development of our health and our ability to adopt healthy habits and attitudes. If we cannot get a grip on our emotional wellbeing and learn to guide and control it, it’s no wonder this filters through into our everyday lives and creates our physical or external realities and perceptions.

Having a negative internal dialogue is one of the fastest ways to lose control of your life and your health. So often we say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of saying out loud or even to other people. Dialogue pops into our heads and we sort of just let it be there. Some of the most common phrases that people say to themselves when trying to lose weight include, but are not limited to:

“I Hate myself”

“I’m disgusting”

“I don’t deserve to be happy”

“I’m so useless”

“I’m weak”

“I can’t…”

“I’ll never…..”

“surprise, surprise, another fail”

I could list these things forever. You have probably guessed that many of these phrases happen in response to failed diets and exercise regimes. How are we ever to succeed if this is what’s going on inside? I myself have said at least all of the above to myself at one time or another and the amazing thing is we let it happen! Would you let someone else speak to you this way? Would you ever say these things to your friends? NO of course not! So why is it ok when we say it to ourselves?

The problem is, it’s very difficult to stop the thoughts. It’s not like we can walk away from ourselves like we would from someone in the street hurling abuse at us. It takes time and energy to relearn how to speak to ourselves. In our heads we have a lifetime of ‘proof’ that we are useless so we can really believe it. It’s a set of disordered thinking that we can really get behind.

A few methods I have used over the years and that I frequently use with my clients include:

  1. When a thought pops in there, make a note of it. Acknowledge that you just told yourself you were ‘useless’ or whatever the thought was
  2. Ask yourself if you would ever say that to a friend and explore why you said it to yourself.
  3. Pay attention to your situation? What are your current circumstances? Are you tired, stressed, upset with someone else or has someone made you feel that way?
  4. Mentally note a time you succeeded at something positive.
  5. Let the thought go. It popped in there, you have given it time, it might feel true but it’s not so let it go.
  6. Have some self-compassion. Allow yourself to see that you are breaking a negative thinking pattern. Let the thought come and go. It has no power over you now.
  7. Try to take a moment to breathe and relax until the negative thought has passed and move on.
  8. Acknowledge the fact that even IF it were true, you aren’t serving yourself with this dialogue. The only way to improve is to move past it and get on with what you are doing.

Questioning each thought as it enters your mind is a great way to stop giving it power over you. Imagine how you would stick up for yourself if someone else had said it to you? What would you say to them? How would you defend yourself?

You are your only advocate against needling insidious thoughts and as a result you must stick up for yourself whether you believe it at the time or not.

Some people succeed well with mantras and meditation, others with a good sharp kick in the bum. Find your way to bat these thoughts away. It does take time but it also gets easier every day. The path to your physical health depends on your ability to have self-compassion, self-belief and self-worth.

This week try to pay attention to your most common inner dialogue, make a note of it and try to see if you can overcome some of your negative thoughts. Give yourself a break, you deserve it!


What do YOU struggle with the most?


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