An inner monologue is basically the conversation that we have with ourselves, in our own heads, as we go about our days. This process is natural and almost everyone undertakes it in some form. In fact, some people speak parts of their inner monologue out loud: we often refer to this as talking to oneself. Lenny Shedletsky, professor of communication at the University of Southern Maine has asked his students to attempt to suspend their inner monologue for a few minutes and most can not do it. This fact supports the notion that the inner dialogue is a central part of our functioning.

Your internal monologue can actually be of great benefit, such as helping us organize our thoughts and plan future actions. However, it can also be hurtful and counterproductive to one’s mental wellbeing when it starts to be negative and repetitive in nature. Sometimes referred to as backchat or chatter, this sort of negative thought loop can be countered by certain exercises, and if that fails by consulting with your physician.

The capacity of people to be introspective and engage in an inner dialogue can be more of a curse than a blessing when things turn negative and repetitive. But there are ways to counter negative self-talk and promote more positive inner dialogues. One way is to talk to yourself like you are another person. This can be helpful since it is a manner in which to reframe what you see as the challenges you are facing and encourage yourself to approach them in a different, perhaps more positive way. Other people have found hugging to be of great assistance, or keeping a journal or tidying up. All of these have the possibility of allowing someone to break out of their inner monologue and perhaps get a fresh perspective.

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