It is common to have conversations with yourself to make decisions or reflect on something that has just happened. This type of dialog is known as internal dialog. When it comes to better understanding the effects that thoughts 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. In this article we will provide you the information about internal dialogue.
If you want to better understand how it works, in this Psychology-Online article, we will talk about internal dialogue: what it is and how to work it effectively with different strategies, as well as the different types of internal dialogues that exist.
What is internal dialogue
Internal dialogue is the set of considerations, assumptions, rules, rights , judgments, expectations, memories, evaluations and attributions of meanings that are constantly activated in response to stimuli coming from the external (events, behavior of others, etc.) or internal environment ( physical sensations, thoughts, memories, etc.). According to each person, it is experienced with different speeds, tones and non-verbal nuances depending on the emotional state experienced.
According to the theory of language development and Vygotsky’s thought, the internalization of language is a crucial evolutionary step, as it allows the formation of higher psychiatric functions. By age 3, the language is divided into two functions:
- Communicative: addressed to others.
- Egocentric: self-directed to guide thinking, solve problems, and plan one’s actions (normative language).
This internal dialogue with himself/herself is initially produced by the infant aloud and is destined to be internalized when he/she reaches the second childhood until the age of 7-8 years. Internal dialogue encompasses all the thoughts that a person directs to himself and, through it, the actions of each one are guided.
In fact, each time we dialogue with ourselves, we can decide to change our attitude in certain circumstances, instilling value or inducing resignation. For example, telling yourself “everything will be fine”, “I can do it”.
Internal dialog types
Self-talk can be helpful or cause a lot of pain depending on how it is used. Next, we’ll show you what types of internal dialog there are so you can tell them apart.
positive internal dialogue
Positive internal dialogue reinforces self-esteem and confidence when carrying out certain actions and guides us with determination towards our goals. Good self-talk helps regulate emotions, direct attention, and plan actions for the future, among other benefits. Good inner dialogue also allows you to weave the threads of past experiences.
negative internal dialogue
The words we address to ourselves are not always constructive. Sometimes we put negative thoughts and affirmations that restrict our access to personal resources against us. If inner speech itself fuels anxiety, depression, and emotional states that are dysfunctional, it needs to be revised, corrected, and reformulated. The following are the most common types of negative internal dialogs:
- Self- critical dialogue : the person criticizes himself in a negative way. It reduces the value of your achievements and exalts your own flaws and limits. She doesn’t have much confidence in herself, so she’s in constant confrontation to find what can complete her. Feels very frustrated for not having achieved the expected results. In this article you will see what self-criticism is and how to do it.
- Catastrophic dialogue : you feel a strong need to prevent situations classified as risky due to the belief that if something negative happens, it will certainly be with you. Alertness and anticipation of events, which generates growing anxiety about the future, control and a lot of wear and tear.
- Victimist dialogue : firmly believes that life is very difficult and complicated. He constantly finds himself in a dead end, without resources to overcome the situations that life presents, and he has a negative view of life and his own abilities. He feels a great lack of protection and hope.
- Self-demanding dialogue : the person demands too much, which causes fatigue and non-acceptance of their own mistakes. All this leads to chronic stress, tiredness and lack of resources and with the conviction that more and more must be done to achieve their goals.
How to work the 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, self- esteem , positive motivational load or optimal management of own resources.
If you’re wondering how to improve self-talk, here’s the best advice to make self-talk effective:
- Use the tu : Studies show that it is more effective to speak with the second person singular instead of using the I.
- Give yourself brief, direct instructions : stay focused, relax, etc.
- Replace “must” with “want” : want puts you in a leadership situation and motivates you to manage the situation better, for example, “I really want to get this career”.
- 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 convert them into functional ones : Recognize your discouraging and negative phrases and practice converting 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 phrases.