Itrapersonal Communication Essay Research Paper Good communication

Itrapersonal Communication Essay, Research Paper

Good communication and right relationship starts from within. The purpose of this paper is to point out that it’s all about attitude, belief systems, skillfulness and self-motivation. Being stressed out, frustrated, scattered or unhappy affects your ability to think clearly, listen closely, speak resourcefully and respond appropriately. Intrapersonal communication is not restricted to “talking to ourselves”; it goes much further than that.

Communication professionals as well as medical professionals have researched the components of self-talk to conclude that what people say to themselves does affect their ability to ward off illnesses. Individuals can tap into the power of their own self-talk by recognizing it for what it is, reducing harmful negativity, and increasing the number of positive internal messages.

To determine where and how self-talk fits into the scheme of intrapersonal communication, and communication as a whole, some definitions must be derived. The reality of emotional choice–that people have definite control over their emotional state–is known to many as self-talk, intrapersonal communication, imaging, and visualization (Weaver and Cottrell, 1987). Self-talk is part of intrapersonal communication.

Having concluded that self-talk and intrapersonal communication are separate but related, the question now is what is intrapersonal communication? Shedletsky (1989) places it into the traditional model of communication, but all elements of sender, receiver, and “transmitter” are carried out within individual people. Pearson and Nelson (1985) expand that definition as follows: Intrapersonal communication is not restricted to “talking to ourselves”; it also includes such activities as internal problem solving, resolution of internal conflict, planning for the future, emotional catharsis, evaluation of ourselves and others.

In an effort to explain the effects of self-talk/ intrapersonal communication on ones health and thinking I offer the following. Fletcher (1989) says the physiological dimension to intrapersonal communication. Fletcher defines, “Intrapersonal communication…is the process interior to the individual by which reality evolves and is maintained.”

Self-talk is a health behavior that has potentially far-reaching effects. Although those who have a high internal sense of control and place a high value on health will most likely use it, it can also help relatively healthy people in health maintenance

programs. Self-talk is categorized as being positive or negative. As its label implies, positive self-talk has good implications for people’s mental and physical well being. However, the negative is not all bad. The key to using self-talk is to strive for an

appropriate balance between the two.

The use of positive self-talk has been linked to the reduction of stress. Less stress can effect other positive health changes. Self-talk, like thoughts, is not neutral because it triggers both positive and negative behavior. Both thoughts and self-talk are based on beliefs which “can exist with or without evidence that they are accurate” (Grainger, 1989) which are formed early in life. Beliefs shape our self-talk, which in turn affects our self-esteem, self-concept and our critical thinking.

However, negative thinking as ones choice of thinking may not be so bad, because it intensifies people’s sensitivity to the situation they are facing. They are likely to think more clearly. Grainger says, “Negative thinking, then, is the most productive,

the most useful, and the healthiest thinking to adopt “when risk is high.” Instead of categorizing negative self-talk as negative, it might be better to call it logical and accurate. Braiker (1989) emphasizes the responsible use of self-talk. She warns against confusing positive inner thoughts with positive thinking, happy affirmations, or self-delusions. Logical, accurate self-talk recognizes personal short- comings, but also modifies them to help people define a plan of correction.

A positive mental attitude as a basis for self-talk does not require self-delusion. The development of optimistic thought patterns requires essentially three things: recognizing self-talk for what it is, dealing with negative messages, and harnessing the positive for the greater good of individual persons. By using inner speech, people can influence their health states, but the benefits potentially reach beyond that. To make self-talk positive, people must change what goes into their subconscious. All this hinges

on recognition of inner messages.

Levine (1991) expands on the idea of noticing thought patterns. Regardless of the thought type positive or negative, she suggests people reflect upon the events leading to and the feelings about the particular thought. When people determine which

thoughts improve their sense of well being, they can make those thoughts occur more frequently. Again, this does not imply that people who practice positive self-talk will be a group of happy campers. Negative inner speech can and does play a constructive role in helping people create better realities for themselves. As was mentioned before,

negative thoughts can trigger warning signals in high-risk situations. The object is to deal with the underlying message, and then move to correct the situation. Negative self-talk has a downside, which affects ones everyday abilities. For example, thinking “I’m a nervous wreck,” “I’m eaten up with anger,” “That disease runs in my family,” and “Only the good die young” can undermine any positive thinking people try to achieve. Therefore, individuals must replace these negative thoughts with something more constructive.

In societies where people, such as females are taught to downplay their good points, developing positive self-talk might be difficult at first. It is a reality-check for these women. Most of the time, people are a lot better than they originally thought. The development of positive self-talk requires that people take active roles in shaping the events in their lives, not just letting life happen. Using your name when you talk to yourself, keeping a journal and releasing built up feelings are some of the ways of becoming aware of ones thoughts.

Relaxation is also a way to promote positive thinking and to reduce stress. Stress cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed. Sharing ones feelings with another and confronting any conflict early on can do this. Relaxation and less stress will clarify and change ones inner thoughts for the better, which has a positive affect on ones health.

Thought patterns generated by self-talk affect ones health, and critical thinking. People can begin to grasp the power in their minds by taking an active role in deciding what to think, and enhancing the positive messages they send themselves. It also involves being realistic, identifying the causes for any negativity, realizing it is a signal to act. By doing so, people can face challenges, health related or otherwise, with the knowledge they can succeed if they put their minds to it.


Fletcher, J.E. (1989). “Physiological Foundations of Intrapersonal Communication.” In Roberts & Watson (Eds.), Intrapersonal

Communication Processes (pp. 188-202). New Orleans: Spectra.

Grainger, R.D. (1991). “The Use–and Abuse–of Negative Thinking.” American Journal of Nursing, 91(8), 13-14.

Korba, R. (1989). “The Cognitive Psychophysiology of Inner Speech.” In Roberts & Watson (Eds.), Intrapersonal

Communication Processes (pp. 217-242). New Orleans: Spectra.

Levine, B.H. (1991). Your Body Believes Every Word You Say: The Language of the Body/Mind Connection. Boulder

Creek, CA: Aslan.

Pearson, J.C., & Nelson, P.E. (1985). Understanding and Sharing: An Introduction to Speech Communication (Third Edition)

Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown.

Shedletsky, L.J. (1989). Meaning and Mind: An Intrapersonal Approach to Human Communication. Bloomington, IN: ERIC

Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. [ED 308 566]

Weaver, R.L. and Cottrell, H.W. (1987). “Destructive Dialogue: Negative Self-Talk and Effective Imaging.” Paper presented

at the Speech Communication Association Meeting. [ED 290 176]