Self Talk Saves the Soul

aliceinwonderlandwords

Throughout the book Alice self talks a lot.  Honestly think about it this way, the girl is one nasty acid trip and self talk is all she has.  It has been proven through science that self talk is actually a very healthy habit to have.  I, personally, talk to myself quite a bit.  I’m not ashamed to admit that.  I talk to myself when I’m stressed, when I’m sad, or when a particular problem has me vexed.  It helps me to voice my opinions and get it all out there.  Not to mention that I have the ability, in that moment, to voice the frustration that is building inside.  Does it get awkward?  At moments but it makes me happy.  If you, like Alice, self talk don’t consider yourself mad but you’re healthy.

Here’s how to make self talk work best for you:

Notice what you’re already saying to yourself. Most of us don’t give conscious attention to the voices rambling in our heads. Yet, they impact us whether we notice or not. Consciously, tune into your self talk.

Politely acknowledge, then ignore the self talk that isn’t helpful. When you hook into some negative self talk, notice it, and shift your attention elsewhere. Don’t become angry or determined not to hear it – we tend to think about what we don’t want to think about. Instead, let the negative voices jabber in the background. Clinical psychologist Steven Hayes, Ph.D., an expert in language and cognition, likens these negative thoughts to unruly passengers in the backseat of the car you’re driving. Sure, you hear the noise and ruckus behind you, but you keep your attention focused on the road ahead.

Pick your power phrase. Choose words that inspire you, motivate you, make you laugh, or boost your mood: “You da Man” or “You go, girl,” for example. Consciously pick a couple of phrases that feel good – you may even feel a rush of energy when you say them – and practice them out loud in a big, powerful Obi- Wan (or hero of your choice) voice.

Pick a phrase or reminder word to help you focus. Say you’re performing open heart surgery or pruning a bonsai, or training a dog for show, or cooking a new recipe – use your self talk to remind you of your technique or a fundamental and critical skill you need to accomplish the job. When I’m writing an article I often say to myself: “Find your focus.” It reminds me to stick to the main point.

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