Everyone has an internal running dialogue in their head – that mental input that feeds our thinking, and ultimately our own output, our behaviors and decisions. Our internal narrative might be opinionated, “I can’t believe how slow these people are to respond!” or life commentary, “Wow, what a beautiful piece of music,” or perhaps our own personal tormentor, “There’s no way I’m going to get this done.” What we tell ourselves can become habitual. And what we think consistently, and then say out loud, infects our conversations and others around us. The mental cycle becomes reinforcing.
The constant stream of internal dialogue may feel beyond your control. You may say to yourself, “They’re just my thoughts – I can’t control what I think!” But you can, simply by considering what you allow in. Faced with any moment, any interaction, any experience, you can control your mental reaction and choose a positive or constructive tone with yourself, instead of a negative or derogatory thought. Simply by choosing the initial reaction, you will begin to alter the shape of what happens next – the unconscious mental gestation period. When wrestling with any puzzle, professional or personal, there is typically a period of mental churning before the A-ha! moment. That’s the ‘sleep on it’ period of time.
And as researchers have shown, what we think creates pathways in our brains that are reinforcing. Basically what we think becomes what we think, which is why it’s so important to choose your attitude carefully.