by Julia Scalise DN, PhD
Everyone, or almost everyone, reading this has talked to themselves. Some of us do it more often than others, but most of us carry on conversations with ourselves on a regular basis. However, what we “self-speak” or think about ourselves in these mental dialogues matters more than we ever knew. We must acknowledge the impact negative self-talk has on our overall physical health and ongoing mood.
Quantum physicists state that our thoughts create our reality.
Dr. Candace Pert, who discovered the opiate receptor in our brain and is the author of “Molecules of Emotion- Why You Feel the Way You Feel”, says that our emotions, or what we “feel” trigger chemical responses. Feelings and thoughts release neurotransmitters that:
- affect our state of well-being,
- promote positive or negative mood, and
- impact our organs and systems function from multiple feedback loops.
Dr. Norman Doidge, author of “The Brain That Changes Itself”, states that the brain can literally change its function and STRUCTURE just by what we think or imagine. Thoughts, perceptions and activities literally turn genes on or off in our bodies, as well as stimulate the cavalcade of other chemical reactions.
Because of all the research and clinical testing being done and studied regarding the “mind-body” connection, the power of positive thinking is gaining documented scientific credibility and being used and harnessed to improve health on all levels.
The Neurophysiology of Negative Self-Talk
So what happens when we have these ongoing conversations with ourselves?
- Stress combined with negative self-talk increases the release of catecholamines such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Catecholamines are hormones that are released by your adrenal glands.
- These substances act as neuromodulators in the central nervous system and as hormones in blood circulation.
- These will elevate when there is perceived danger or threat, but also are affected by negative self-talk.
- Cortisol, a stress hormone, is also elevated as a byproduct of stress and negative thoughts or self-speak.
- Elevated cortisol, especially if chronic, can decrease the actual volume of the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is the part of the brain associated with positive emotions.
Just thinking or talking to yourself, either positively or negatively, has an effect on all physical structures in our body, not just our mood or emotions. Circulating neurotransmitters and hormones create a feedback loop, impacting cardiovascular health, digestion, weight management, along with mood, motivation, anxiety, interest and drive.
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The Neurophysiology of Positive Self-Talk
The calming neurotransmitters of GABA and Serotonin are responsible for keeping anxiety in check, generating feelings of self-worth, our level of happiness and protection against depression. Excitatory neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, come into play when feeling in love. Dopamine promotes motivation, interest, and drive - it keep us from feeling “dead from the neck up”.
However, when you have too much or too little of any neurotransmitter - or if they are out of balance with each other - it can have detrimental effect on our physical health and how we feel.
These hormones and neurotransmitters are directly impacted by our thoughts and internal conversations. Therefore, maintaining positive thoughts and self-talk are useful tools for maintaining health in body, mind, and spirit.
How to Change Your Self-Talk
Work on promoting positive self-talk daily by thinking or speaking positive affirmations. You can also take advantage of programs such as those offered right here at BrainSpeak. Remain consistent, for you have the potential to improve not only brain function, but brain STRUCTURE, as well as improve all other organs and organ system health.
Thinking more positively will also increase your chance for more joy, happiness, motivation, and willingness to participate and enjoy your life. This is especially important if you have been through difficulties such as physical or emotional abuse, loss of loved ones, financial struggles, and loss of self-worth or self-esteem from any cause, or any other negative experiences or victimization in your life.
If thoughts create reality, and positive feelings stimulate “feel good” chemicals, then let your thoughts and imaginings be that you ARE capable, worthy, successful, healthy, beautiful, loveable, or whatever you wish to experience. As the Law of Attraction states, you will attract what you think and feel you are or what you think and feel you deserve. You have more power over what you experience in your life, and more control over your state of health, just by your thoughts and feelings. Think and feel them wisely!
Wishing you health, a positive mind set, and living your best life.
Editor's Note: If you like this article and would like to learn how to clean up your negative self-talk faster, then click here to get our FREE "Self-Talk Audit and Checklist."