When someone first asked me about my self-talk, I was a little concerned to realize I DID talk to myself. My understanding was, when people talk to themselves, they need medical help.
That was many years ago but I am continually amazed at how little awareness there is about that little voice we all have, as it is a very important contributor to our health and how we experience your world. Are you friends with your unconscious mind?
Did you know we have around 60,000 thoughts per day (according to research by Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University). whether you are conscious of your thoughts or not, they an impact on the cells in our body.
Thoughts are linked to the chemicals produced in the brain and body. Positive thoughts create positive chemicals and negative thoughts create negative chemicals. Think of a time you were feeling sad, how did your body feel? Heavy, slumped, maybe fatigued or tired? Now, think of when you were happy and how you felt physically. Light, energized, active, tall?
Chemicals affect the immune system and overall health. This doesn’t mean, if you’re unwell you think negatively and there are obviously many factors at play. Plenty of positive people get sick. It is worth considering the impact our thoughts have on contributing to any illness and possible aiding our restoration to health.
“Emotions play an important role in modulating bodily systems that influence our health.” Dr Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Step One – Be Aware of what you think.
Are you putting yourself down a lot, saying things like; “I never get it right,” “I’m so lazy,” or “I am just not good at anything.”
Or do you say things like; “Great effort, I really did my best,” “I am so good at…” “I really like how clever I am at…”
Listen to the things you say to yourself and ask; “If I had someone next to me ALL day saying these things how would I feel about that person? Would I want them around? Would I consider them a friend?” Most of the time, the answer would be no because your ‘self talk’ is negative.
Step Two – Cancel negative thoughts.
You cannot control the thoughts that come into your mind, but you are in control of what you do with them once they are there. Often when a person realises they are thinking negatively, they focus on trying to NOT thinking the negative thoughts. YOU CANNOT DO THIS. You cannot ‘NOT think something’. The more you try NOT to think something the BIGGER it will become. Lets experiment. I am going to ask you right now NOT to think of a pink elephant… could you do it? I have never met anyone who could.
What you CAN do is cancel the negative thought leaving space to move to step three. All you do is, once aware of the thought you don’t want (Step One) say, in your mind, “Cancel Cancel”. Then move onto the next step.
Step Three – Replace with wanted thoughts.
You have cancelled out unwanted thoughts, now replace them with a new thought – a thought that contributes to strengthening your immune system, alters the chemicals in the body and promotes healing. Write a list of thoughts that make you feel good, that you can use to replace the old (feeling bad) thoughts.
At first this step will feel uncomfortable and this is because it is new. Once you do it for a while it will become second nature, the same as the negative thought process was. In the mean time, it works much better if you ACT as though the new thoughts are TRUE. You don’t need to believe them, but you DO need to ACT as though you believe them.
YOU MUST continue these steps on a daily basis – the same as you were doing with the negative thoughts – for them to have an effect. This is REALLY easy to do, just as easy as the old way but you DO need to commit. Make the decision NOW to change your thoughts and you WILL change your life.
Cindy Russell is a practitioner and trainer in Kinesiology, Life Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming.
For more than 17 years she has helped others to better explore, expand and experience life.
Her journey started as a young girl with anxiety and OCD. As a result, the focus of her professional career has been helping children and their carers.
Cindy lives in Wollongong with her husband and four children.