This month’s article is going to be about self-talk. What a coincidence! Now, I don’t know about you, but this Covid-19 quarantine has got me talking to myself a lot more than usual!
If you’re new to the idea of self-talk, self-talk refers to the ongoing dialogue that most of us have with ourselves as we go about the business of the day. Self-talk by its very nature can be useful and encouraging, or it can be demoralizing and oftentimes destructive. And since self-talk is usually going on in the background of our minds, we don’t even try to examine it unless it’s brought to our attention.
So, take a moment to ask yourself what are you saying to yourself as you read this article? Is it useful and positive? Is it neutral? Or is it negative and depressing? Does it come in short bursts? Or is it constant and ongoing?
For those people who’s self-talk is ongoing and self-critical, there are two powerful phrases they can use. One is “according to who”. For example, if your self-talk is telling you “you’ll never get that job” or “you’re not good enough”, insert the phrase “according to who”. Sometimes this simple phrase is enough to stop that inner dialogue in its tracks. At the very least, asking “according to who”, will open up a new mental pathway.
The other useful phrase I’m talking about is “or not”. Sometimes as we worry, fear accelerates us into making dire predictions about the future. And this is human nature. But if we train ourselves to say “or not” at the end of such dire predictions we open ourselves to the realization that there are other possibilities out there.
The Covid-19 pandemic is scary, so it’s easy to spiral down in negative thoughts. The story we tell ourselves is crucial. Change it from “it’s not going to be okay” to “I’m safe at home with the people I love”. Start today with a positive thought or even a mantra such as “I am well”, says Sandra Darling, D.O. preventive medicine physician.
At this point the solution seems pretty simple. Replace the negatives statements with positive statements. The more often that you repeat a positive statement, the more likely you are to internalize this statement and begin to change your picture of yourself.
One person I know cured his insomnia by repeating various phrases such as ‘I fall asleep quickly and easily”, ‘I can fall asleep anytime and anyplace I choose”, and “my brain and body thrive on the kind of sleep that I get”.
He sat down and repeated one or more of these phrases every day for 5 minutes. That’s it. That’s all he did.
These simple ideas compliment the way the human mind actually works. We’re not trying to make drastic changes we are simply making more choices available.
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