“You’ll see the most perfect person and you are like, God, she’s, like, perfect,” she told Harpers Bazaar about her famous clients in 2011. “And then she’ll tell you everything that’s not perfect. Everyone has their own special set of problems – in their own minds.” So true. I read that statement in an article about the recent tragic suicide of designer L’Wren Scott. That was her statement.
She captured the damaging truth of self-talk, negative self talk in particular, that affects us all at some time in our lives. We often think of stress as being triggered and caused by external situations, but a lot of it comes from how we think and feel about ourselves.
How are you managing your stress? Below is I’ve listed additional tips to help you manage stress in a healthy way. But first, I want to discuss one of the leading causes of stress is our internal self-talk. We wouldn’t allow others to speak to us, the way we often, out of unconscious speak to ourselves. We have an ongoing internal dialogue that has a powerful impact on how we feel and act. Our internal conversation often is composed of unhealthy and inaccurate statements about ourselves. Just pay attention
But you can take charge of your inner conversation, in a way you may not have previously realized is possible.
Attention: The first step in managing your self-talk is to become aware of them, and to pay careful attention. Unless you’re aware of this internal monologue, it’s impossible to change it. Start by simply recognizing what you’re saying to yourself. For instance, let’s say you’re thinking about a new project for which you’re accountable. You realize you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Improve: After you’ve recorded any inaccurate, unhelpful self-talk, you can decide how to “rethink” it. This step is the heart of this effort. Your goal is to create alternative self-talk that you’ll believe and that will lead to a more useful response. If you make a statement that you don’t believe to be true, it will have no impact on you: you’ll remain in your original negative self-talk. What could you say to yourself instead, that’s believable and that would create a healthier response?
Repeat: Like any habit, managing your self-talk requires repetition. Substituting more hopeful and accurate self-talk for your negative self-talk will be helpful the very first time you do it. It is critical to do it repeatedly, as often as you can whenever time the voice inside makes an unhelpful statement. This is an unfolding process for creating new and healthier habits of thought. Whenever you find yourself falling into a pattern of self-talk that you know isn’t healthy you can choose to change it and express more realistic and accurate self-talk.
So that’s it. Until you try it, you may not see how dramatically helpful it can be. Think of it this way: imagine if you had a ‘friend’ who was saying the kinds of unsupportive, unhelpful, negative things you sometimes say to yourself. Would you just nod and accept it? I hope not. By learning to manage your self-talk, you can make sure you’re not getting in the way of your own success and happiness.
Sharing information about stress and the mind-body connection with you, I believe is crucial to empowering and inspiring you to improve your health and well-being. You can listen to some of my recent radio interviews that are posted on www.drelaine.com/media.html, the WGN radio interview is about winter stress. We are stressed, in some regards today more than ever. But the good news is that we have more resources than ever before at our finger tips.
In addition to improving your self-talk, here are a few more tips to help you better deal with stress.
Additional Action Steps:
- Live in the moment—do your best to be fully present now
- Focus on your breathing 20 deep diaphragmatic breaths will disrupt the stress response (deep breathing resets your physiology, and promotes relaxation)
- If all else fails, laugh (watch a comedy movie) laughter is one of the greatest stress interrupters, with a multitude of health benefits