Managing Self Talk – Part 2

Back after a really long break! Used some self talk to get over my writer’s block!

Last post on this topic talked about how Self Talk is the fundamental process through which we interpret and respond to situations. When the talk is negative, it makes us interpret situations negatively and creates unhappiness. Modifying self talk is therefore an important technique for happiness.

This is what we will talk about in this post.

It only works if you work on it
Before we proceed, a word of advise. None of what is being in this blog or elsewhere is of any use, if you do not try out the ideas suggested. If you merely read this blog and move on, you are no better than earlier. It only makes a difference when you diligently practice some technique that works for you.
Change and personal growth is hard, there are no shortcuts. The path is fraught with failures. It is only by staying the course can one expect to see results. It is best to not believe claims of self help books that promise miraculous results. Such expectations often lead to disappointment.

Meditation
For me, meditation has been the fundamental instrument of change. It has made me keenly mindful of the self talk busybody within. I directly experience the connection between my self talk and my mental state. Such powerful experiences were the by-products of meditation and have vastly helped me change, over time.

Modifying Self Talk
Shad Helmstetter, in his book, “What to say when you talk to yourself” suggests the following techniques

  1. Silent self talk: As soon as you get up, tell yourself in your mind the one positive statement that directly attacks the problem you have chosen to solve. It could be “I feel energetic today”, “I can handle this!”, “I am finishing to write that blog post today!” and so on. Repeat this to yourself several times in a day.
  2. Choose a clear, vivid positive statement and say it aloud several times in a day. Put up that statement next to your mirror, bed, workspace.
  3. Self conversation: Engage yourself with conscious self conversation that is positive. This will override the subconscious self talk that is happening. You can do this every time you have a few minutes free.
  4. Tape your positive self talk conversations and listen to them several times in a day.

When you construct your self talk statement, keep it specific and in the present tense. For example, “I have quit smoking. My lungs feel clear and healthy.”

Use the language you think in.

Initially it may feel silly. Don’t let that discourage you.

Modify your statements till you find one that works best.

But be kind on yourself. Don’t scold yourself when your feelings don’t match your self talk. Keep going. Keep trying.

Sometimes, managing self talk may require work at a deeper level. Other techniques such as REBT,CBT and NLP may be of use. But they require a trained practitioner.

Here are some reference sites:

REBT:
http://www.rebtnetwork.org/whatis.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_emotive_behavior_therapy

CBT:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy

NLP:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming

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