The language we use to talk to each other and to ourselves have an impact on our wellbeing. Amanda Gorman used language to inspire hope, getting the attention of our country. Amanda's language helped me to reduce some chatter in my head about the future of our country.
My inner chatter was zooming in on the negative and inflaming my emotions by excluding any alternative way of thinking, I was losing perspective. Zooming out and listening to Amanda's language allowed me to change my thoughts and be more hopeful. Our language matters!
"The human mind is one of evolution’s greatest creations, not simply because it allowed our species to survive and thrive, but because in spite of the inevitable pain that comes with life, it endowed us with a powerful voice in our head, one that can both celebrate the best times and make meaning out of the worst times. It’s this voice, not the din of chatter, that we should all listen to." ~ Ethan Kross
HOW ARE YOU TALKING TO YOURSELF?
Bob Sthal shares with us a few categories of thought. "Just intentionally being curious about how your mind works and even labeling certain categories of thoughts widens the space between awareness and the thoughts themselves. In that space is where your choice and freedom live."
Catastrophizing—This is the mind’s “what if” game. It snowballs the worst-case scenario of the future with worried thoughts: What if this happens? What if that happens? These thoughts amplify anxiety and depression.
Blaming—This is a mind trap in which some uncomfortable feeling is expelled by holding ourselves responsible for another’s pain or holding others responsible for our pain. The problem here is that when you perceive the issue as lying outside of you, you give your power away to effect change.
Rehashing—This is when our thoughts reflect on past circumstances, going over them again and again, often in an effort to figure something out.
Rehearsing—This is the mind practicing some future event, playing through, again and again, the possible ways it may unfold.
CHANGING OUR SELF-TALK TO IMPROVE OUR WELLBEING
I recently read Ethan Kross's new book, "Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why it Matters, and How to Harness It.” WOW...it has a so much amazing content to support your mental health. It highlights "Chatter Tools" as techniques you can use to help quiet your mental chatter and make your inner voice work for you rather than against you.
I've included several of his "Chatter Tools" below. Pick a few to widen the space between awareness and your thoughts. "In that space is where your choice and freedom live." We can be the light to bring hope into our own self talk so we can be our best resilient self!
Remember last month's post on sunsets and sunrise or the cloud watching blog? Kross validates AWE-inspiring experience as a great tool.
Impose order on your surroundings. Clean up your desk, make a todo list, clean your car, organize something in your environment.
The great outdoors. Surround the spaces in which you live and work with greenery to create environments that are calm to the inner voice.
Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. The ability to “step back” from the echo chamber of our own minds so we can adopt a more objective perspective.
Zoom out. Chatter involves narrowly focusing on the problems we’re experiencing. A natural antidote involves broadening our perspective. Take the role of the observer, fly on the wall perspective or view the situation from the perspective of someone you admire.
Reinterpret the situation as a challenge that you can handle. You have handled other challenges in your life so tell yourself this can be handled too. It may help to imagine the future and look back at this challenge as temporary.
Journaling about your experience from the perspective of a narrator provides you with distance from the experience, which in turn helps you make sense of your feelings in ways that improve your inner conversation and how you feel over time. For more on journaling read my March blog.
My favorite chatter tool is to talk to yourself using your name as a way to silence your inner voice, gain emotional distance and promote rational thinking.
Bonny, why are you making this situation about you? Do you really believe that this challenge will wreck your life? I think it is time for us to take a walk and breath, or just stand up and look around at all the beauty in this world.
Bonny, you are calm, confident and happy? Just stop all this noise and actively listen.