Chances are that you talk to yourself mentally at various points throughout the day. Whether it's to help yourself with something at work, or to convince yourself that you don't need a third coffee at 10 a.m. in the morning. But have you ever said something like that out loud? If you answered yes, you could be one of the smartest people around.
Expressing your inner thoughts out loud can help you better conquer the present and future and is something everyone should start doing, according to Lisa Ferentz, clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and author of the Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons From the Therapist’s Couch.
Ferentz explains that she encourages her clients to talk out loud to themselves to develop a positive outlook about themselves and the day ahead.
“There’s nothing more important than the way we talk to ourselves because that inner monologue informs in subtle and not-so-subtle ways all our subsequent thoughts, emotional states, and behavioral choices,” she says.
She goes on to explain that if you’re constantly critical, judgemental, or facing the day with a negative attitude, you make it impossible to embrace positivity down the line.
Ferentz also encourages her clients to write down what they're grateful for, their own strengths, and positive affirmations; and then tells them to stand in front of a mirror and read themselves out loud.
“Like anything else, once you practice and approach it from a positive place, you discover it’s quite easy to do. It guides our life whether we’re conscious of it or not,” says Ferentz.
A study from the University of Lethbridge found that students who were taught how to engage in these exercises were able to change their perspectives, attitudes, and reactions.
Ferentz also encourages clients to whisper pep talks or explore thoughts and feelings when heading into an overwhelming situation.
“When we whisper positively to ourselves it gives us a little more strength and courage so we can meet a challenging scenario head on,” she says.
Athletes are among those who often self-talk ahead of competitions.
“There’s definitely a value to understanding what you’re feeling whether it’s positive or negative. Saying negative thoughts out loud can be very validating,” says Ferentz. “Bringing the negative stuff you’re thinking and feeling to the surface then gives you the opportunity to reevaluate it.”