Channeling your internal discourse

N°319a – Synth├Ęse (8 p.) – Emotions
Channeling your internal discourse
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Whether we are aware of them or not, those “little voices” that speak to us from our innermost depths are an integral part of how we function. How can we channel this internal dialogue to turn it into an ally?

Are you aware that you spend between a third and half of your waking moments talking to yourself? While it is never good form to publicly admit to talking to yourself, this habit is actually shared by the entire population.

In his book Chatter, psychologist Ethan Kross takes a closer look at this internal discourse, which proves to be sometimes an extraordinary support to our performance, and sometimes a handicap that saps our confidence, especially in critical moments. We build this little voice that lives within us from childhood—notably to reason ourselves and gain in self-control. At first it echoes the people who educate us. As we grow up, this voice is gradually internalized and, most of the time, we wind up no longer being aware of it. Nonetheless, it remains very present. It even speaks to us at a steady pace, in flashes, images and partially formulated ideas. It particularly enables us to give meaning to the experiences we undergo, to arbitrate when we are faced with a choice or relational problem, or to assess our capacity to meet the objectives we set for ourselves and evaluate our level of progress.

However, this inner voice becomes scrambled when we are subjected to strong emotions or to elevated stress levels. It then tends to focus on the negative and lead us to lose confidence: “You aren’t going to make it”; “You’re bad at this”; “They aren’t interested in what you’re saying”… This continuous flow takes up a considerable part of our cognitive capacity—despite its being sorely needed to face the situation at hand! What’s more, these ruminations tend to move in a closed loop, thereby depriving us of the ability to move forward.

Channeling this internal dialogue thus becomes essential to regaining control. By giving it a more optimistic orientation, we can even turn it into an ally in high-stakes situations!

In this synopsis:
– Breaking the vicious circle of rumination
– Making your internal discourse an ally
– Managing your internal discouse when speaking in public

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