Inner-Dialogue. Woman engaged in positive self-talk.

Inner Peace—Calming and Directing your Inner Dialogue

Beautify your inner dialogue.
Beautify your inner world with
love, light, and compassion.
~Amit Ray

What does your inner dialogue sound like?

Are your inner thoughts calm, supportive, and helpful, or do you have a lot of negative self-talk? Is your inner dialogue a never-ending stream, or are you able to control it?

For many people, errant thoughts pop into their heads when they least want them to or when they’re doing something that requires intense focus. Try as we might to concentrate, our minds wander. The nature of our thoughts is also important. Some people have a stream of positive encouragement or affirmations: “You’ve got this!” “Come on, just one more strong hour!” Others have a never-ending flow of negative self-talk: “Idiot! What are you thinking?!” We need to pay attention to both the amount of inner dialogue we have and its nature.

Controlling our inner dialogue

Are you ever able to completely clear your mind when you have to? An inner dialogue can be helpful (if it’s positive), but it can also be extremely distracting (even when it isn’t negative). Sometimes our inner dialogue can be neither—just inane chatter or a song playing over and over again.

We all have our “favorite channels” in our mind—the places where our thoughts wander when left to their own devices. These might include romantic fantasies, songs or melodies, a recent disagreement you had with someone, things you want… the list can be long.

While some of these thoughts can be positive or helpful, the problem arises when your mind wanders on its own, which can be a significant problem when you’re trying to concentrate or are having trouble sleeping. Although controlling these thoughts can be extremely difficult, there are several ways we can deal with them.

  • Awareness. Recognize them for what they are. When a new thought pops into your head, you can recognize that it’s there and that you did not choose to occupy your mind in that way. Then continue on focusing on what you were doing, where you are, and your surroundings.
  • Daydreaming. Allow yourself a break from whatever you’re doing and intentionally allow your mind to freeform. Sometimes, through daydreaming, your mind can find a solution to a problem without you consciously trying to. This can also lead to new and creative thoughts. It’s often through daydreaming that inventions are conceived, songs are written, and problems are solved.
  • Direction. If you catch yourself thinking about something that you will eventually have to think about, go with it. This can be especially helpful when you’re about to drop off to sleep. Your subconscious mind can often think about things in different ways.

The nature of our inner dialogue

The content of our thoughts is just as important as their frequency or timing.

There are many voices in our lives that we don’t have much control over, but our own self-talk is not among them. Some people engage in harsh, negative self-talk without even realizing it. The first step toward understanding your inner dialogue is to pay attention to it. Awareness of our own thoughts can help us characterize our inner dialogue—it’s something we should try to do on an ongoing basis. We need to know what we’re telling ourselves and why. If we find our inner dialogue is always or often negative, criticizing, or insulting, we need to put a stop to that. If we’re treating ourselves any worse than we would a friend, we need to examine why.

If you find your inner dialogue is highly critical, you need to replace it with a positive, affirming voice of reason. Even if you make mistakes, your inner dialogue should assume the tone of a nurturing, constructive friend, someone who wants to help you get back on track.

We all have an inner dialogue. It can be a treasured companion through our life journey, or it can be a loud-mouthed bully, speaking when we don’t want it to and in an unhelpful way. You need to harness your inner dialogue so that it’s controllable and helpful. Remember that you’re in charge.

Take control of those voices in your head and make them speak your language.

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