According to 2018 statistics from the World Health Organization it’s estimated over 300 million people suffer from Depression worldwide today. That statistic is an alarming one.
What’s causing all that depression?
The answer is a combination of things, from up-bringing, environment, trauma, genetics, the community we live in, or lack thereof, and more. But while some of those elements may be outside of our control, there is one critical piece we each have control over - our inner voice. That is, how we choose to address our inner voice, or our always present, pick-you-up-when-down, internal dialogue.
With a strong internal dialogue, your personal growth will improve and even flourish.
How can we improve our internal dialogue?
In Joe Dispenza’s book Evolve Your Brain, he cites a story of meditation by Buddhist Monks as a potential answer. In November 2004 the National Academy of Science an experiment was conducted with Buddhist Monks in which 256 sensors were attached to the brains of monks with years of experience in meditation and with other individuals that have never meditated.
The monks were then asked to meditate and focus on the single idea of compassion or love.
The results were astounding…
Incredibly, for those Monks in deep meditation, the researches detected the highest level of gamma waves they had ever detected before in the human brain!
This finding was astonishing because gamma waves in the human brain are associated with neural development activity, such as the building of new neural networks.
In other words, simply through focused meditative thought, these meditating monks were building neural networks at rates that had never been recorded before!
The researchers also discovered that compared to the control group that was not meditating, the monks meditative thought patterns were not only better organized, they showed the highest level of cognitive thought.
It was almost as if the monks, through meditation, were training and strengthening their brains simply through the power of thoughts.
Which, in fact, was exactly what was happening.
Researchers compare this type of neural activity to training a muscle when we ride a bike, or go for a run, or lift weights at the gym. But in this instance, the brain, as a muscle, was physically getting stronger simply through the focused exercise of meditation.
Through meditation we have the power to improve not only how our mind works, but what we think about.
It is well known that we have 40,000 - to up to 100,000 thoughts in a single day. How we mange those thoughts is critical to our mental health, and preventing anxiety or depression from taking hold. And beyond prevention from mental health issues, a strong internal dialogue is a key first step to building your personal growth.
ADD MEDITATION & GRATITUDE TO DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH
At the Chopra Centre (The Chopra Center) they provide Six Tips to master Your Internal Dialogue which we’ve expanded here as part of your Inspired Foundations Journey. Try these each day as you rise, or on your morning commute to the office. Build these as habits that form your day:
1. Spend Time in Silence: Removing the noise from our lives at least once per day involves not just the sounds all around you, but quieting the voice in our heads. Those thousands of voices can be persistent ones, but finding the ability to quiet them down will help us realize how unconvincing they really can be in all the random and negative thoughts they can present. The brain, as a muscle, constantly wants exercise. It craves it, but like any muscle it needs rest. It needs time to repair. And this starts with making the time to quiet our minds into silence.
2. Cultivate Gratitude: To dramatically shift our internal dialogue from negative to positive, focus on how much you really have to be grateful for. Gratitude will literally change how you see the world. It will change how you interact with others. It will shift your internal dialogue toward the positive. There is an added benefit to this. The positive energy you release will attract more positive energy into your life with a cascading effect of creating even more gratitude. We really all do have so much to be grateful for.
3. Actively Avoid Negativity: Our brains are prewired to search out negativity as our primal defence mechanism. This came in handy before, when our basic survival was required on a daily basis, from prey wanting to attack us, from food that might have been scarce. But today that subconscious desire to feed our brain with negative thoughts is becoming a thought epidemic of sorts. Sensational negative news headlines, and news media outlets, even some of our nations leaders, use negative news to get your attention. It’s our jobs then to clear our caches and turn off those news sources that feed us more fear, anger, and hate.
This comes in the friendships we have as well. Negative friendships can have a much deeper, wounding effect on our internal dialogue. Bullying through verbal abuse is never ok or justified. Remove yourself from those people in your life who are only harming you, your mental health, and your internal dialogue.
4. Harness the Power of Affirmations: The statement of “I AM” is a powerful way to confirm who you are by reminding yourself using the terms “I AM” each day. When you wake in the morning, or are killing time in your daily morning commute, try saying to yourself “I AM beautiful.” “I AM worthy of my love and of those around me.” I AM great at what I do.” “I AM going to have a great day, no matter what.” I AM statements said daily will improve your internal dialogue through the establishment of the new neural connections you’ll create in the process.
5. Practice impeccable speech and behaviour: This doesn’t mean having the most brilliant of vocabularies or perfecting your speech, but it does mean making an effort to present yourself outwardly in a healthy and positive light. How you act outwardly not only impacts your internal dialogue, it impacts those around you in your community, at home, and at work.
6. Remember your True Nature: In an interview last spring with Laurie Brown, radio host and now Podcaster of Pondercast.com, I asked Laurie the most important lesson she’s learned in her long industrious career in TV, Radio and beyond. Her message is the same as the Chopra’s No 6 rule – Be Yourself. Stick to your true nature. Use your true nature to be your guiding principle in life. When major decisions present themselves, when opportunity knocks, or if you find yourself in an uncomfortable place.
Personal growth starts with building a strong internal dialogue. It grows when we nurture our minds in healthy ways through the steps listed. And it allows us to work towards the goals, wishes and dreams that motivate us to fight on, and keep going, in good times and in bad.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helped someone out there.