What is internal dialogue and how to work on it

  • Aug 22, 2022
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What is internal dialogue and how to work on it

It is common to have conversations with oneself to make decisions or reflect on something that has just happened. This type of dialogue is known as internal dialogue. When it comes to better understanding the effects that thought can have, it is enough, for example, to think that we are biting the pulp of a lemon. In most people, this gesture is enough to close the mouth and produce greater salivation.

If you want to better understand how it works, in this Psychology-Online article, we will tell you what is internal dialogue and how to work it effectively with different strategies, as well as the different types of internal dialogues that exist.

The inner dialogue is set of considerations, assumptions, rules, rightsjudgments, expectations, memories, appraisals, and meaning attributions that are constantly activated in response to stimuli from the external environment (events, behavior of others, etc.) or internal (physical sensations, thoughts, memories, etc.). According to each one, it is experienced with different speeds, tonalities and non-verbal nuances according to the emotional state that is experienced.

According to Vygotsky's theory of language development and thought, the internalization of language is a crucial evolutionary step, since it allows the formation of higher psychic functions. Around the age of 3, language is divided into two functions:

  • Communicative: directed towards others.
  • Egocentric: directed towards oneself to guide thought, solve problems and plan one's own actions (normative language).

This internal dialogue with oneself is initially produced by the infant out loud and is destined to be internalized when second childhood arrives around 7-8 years of age. the internal dialogue collects all the thoughts that a person directs to himself and, through it, the actions of each one are guided.

In fact, every time we dialogue with ourselves we can decide to change our attitude in certain circumstances, instilling courage or inducing resignation. For example, saying "everything will be fine", "I can do it".

Inner thinking can be helpful or cause a lot of suffering depending on how it is used. Next, we will show you what types of internal dialogue exist so that you know how to differentiate them.

positive self-talk

positive self talk boosts self-esteem and security when performing certain actions and directs us with determination towards our goals. A good internal speech helps regulate emotions, direct attention and plan actions for the future, among other benefits. A good inner dialogue also allows us to weave the plots of past experiences.

Negative self talk

The words we address to ourselves are not always constructive. Sometimes we play against ourselves with negative thoughts and statements that restrict our access to our personal resources. If the inner speech itself feeds anxiety, depression and emotional states that become dysfunctional, it is necessary to review, correct and reformulate it. Below you will see the most frequent types of negative self-talk:

  • self-critical dialogue: the person criticizes himself in a negative way. It lowers the value of his achievements and exalts one's own shortcomings and limits. She doesn't have much confidence in herself, so she is in constant confrontation to find what can complete her. She feels very frustrated for not having achieved the expected results. In this article you will see what is self-criticism and how to do it.
  • catastrophic dialogue: feel a strong need to prevent situations classified as risky due to the belief that if something negative happens it will surely be to oneself. State of hyperalertness and anticipation of events, which generates a growing anxiety about the future, control and a lot of exhaustion.
  • victim dialogue: firmly believes that life is very difficult and complicated. He constantly sees himself in a dead end, without resources to be able to overcome the situations that life presents him with and has a negative view of life and of his own abilities. He feels a great lack of protection and hope.
  • self-demanding dialogue: the person knows too much, which makes him tired and does not accept mistakes. All this leads her to fall into chronic stress, tiredness and to be lacking in resources and with the conviction that she must do more and more to achieve her goals.
What is internal dialogue and how to work with it - Types of internal dialogue

Self-talk can be trained for better results in life. The technique based on internal dialogue is known as self talk and its objective is to develop the ability to self-induce the desired emotional state, for example, self-control, attention, concentration, energy, the self-esteem, the positive motivational charge or the optimal management of one's own resources.

If you wonder how to improve internal dialogue, here we give you the best tips so that the self talk be effective:

  • Date of You: Studies show that it is more effective to speak with the second person singular than to use the I.
  • Give yourself short, direct instructions: stay focused, relax, etc.
  • Substitute "must" for "want": I want puts you in a leadership situation and motivates you to manage the situation better, for example, "I really want to win this race."
  • Eliminate - or at least limit - the word "NO": The human brain does not immediately perceive denial. In order to deny a thought, the mind must first visualize it and then "erase" it. To work out solutions and make the most of resources, it is much better to get used to using the positive form. For example, saying "focus" instead of "don't get distracted."
  • Recognize dysfunctional thoughts and turn them into functional ones: Recognize your discouraging and negative phrases and practice turning them into positive and motivating phrases. With practice, it will come out more naturally and automatically. In this article you will find examples of positive psychology quotes.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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