This article is PART 3 of 3 and is taken from forthcoming book, "Bankrolling Your Mind" which will be published later this summer.
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One of the first things we do when beginning to work with a new client is show the person how to consciously recognize his/her self-talk. This helps us, and the person, to identify whether he/she will be working with the program or against it. If the latter, we’ll need to work together to eradicate any barriers and blocks and then implement strategies to promote positive internal dialogue. A few of the tools we utilize to eliminate these obstacles include various Neuro-linguistic programming (or NLP) techniques, hypnosis, Time Line Therapy®, Emotional Freedom Technique (or EFT), meditation with personal mantras, autosuggestion, and individually designed affirmations.
Are you ready to become consciously aware of your own self-talk?
Duh! You’re well on your way to Bankrolling Your Mind so I’m confident that your answer is YES! And in that case, let’s play a game.
Now before we begin, I will pre-frame this by stating that we are simply looking for data. We need to establish a starting point and baseline, which means we need solid information before we can go any further. Pay careful attention to the guidelines of this exercise in order to complete it properly because this isn’t something you can do in one single sitting and you’re not allowed to put it off until the evening for a daily recap.
The objective of this exercise is to Monitor Your Self-Talk and by that I mean monitor your self-talk throughout the day as it happens. You can do this easily with a piece of paper and pen that you’ll carry around with you.
Every time you catch yourself saying something POSITIVE to/about yourself, you’re going to write it down in the left hand column. And every time you catch yourself saying something NEGATIVE to/about yourself, you’re going to write it down in the right hand column. Again, you’re going to carry this paper around with you throughout the day so that you can log the needed information in the moment – immediately after it happens – NOT hours later when those thoughts and emotions are no longer present. Even if you find it painful to fully acknowledge and write down the negative thoughts and words you must still write them down straightaway. If you wait until the end of the day to catalog the information then you run the chance of consciously losing valuable information by distorting or deleting (forgetting) the chain of events, which only perpetuates the unwanted cycle of harmful self-talk.
Remember, this is a game and we are only collecting data so be truthful. Don’t be foolish, you won’t be helping yourself by being dishonest, omitting information, or not playing the game as instructed. This is an opportunity to learn and improve your thoughts and behaviors so we need accurate information.
Typically our clients do this for about a week. In some cases, after 3-4 days (once we’re certain they’ve gotten the hang of the exercise and are playing along) we can offer to change the rules a bit. During this time, upon engaging in negative self-talk, the person has a two second window to immediately reframe the statement and make it positive.
Reframing is the process of taking a negative or undesirable event and transforming it into something more pleasing. You may recognize this by the idiom to look on the brighter side. If you’ve ever tried to help a friend by saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” then you were encouraging them to reframe the current situation.
Here are a few examples to consider so that you can see how easy it is to reframe.
Original: “I gained 5 pounds, I’ll never look good in this bathing suit.”
Reframe: “I gained 5 pounds, but I have a week to exercise before the beach so I can look good in this bathing suit.”
Original: “I gave a horrible presentation at work today. I’ll never be a good public speaker.”
Reframe: “I gave a presentation today at work and it was a learning experience. I know what I did well and what areas I need to improve upon. Next time I will be better prepared.”
Original: “I don’t have many clients/customers because I’m a lousy business owner.”
Reframe: “I don’t have as many clients as I would like, perhaps I need to hire someone to develop a better marketing campaign.”
Even if none of these examples applied to you directly, I’m sure you get the idea. The point is that you want to develop more positive and healthier self-talk that serves you as a person. As you work towards improving your self-talk you may begin to notice an emotional response that correlates with negative internal dialogue. For example, you may notice an icky feeling in your gut, a bad taste in your mouth, or sharp buzzing in your ears or some other indicator, which is simply your unconscious mind stepping in to say, “Hey, I know you’re talking bad about yourself so stop it!” and you would be wise to pay attention.
Use your best judgment over the next days. If you find yourself catching on within 3-4 days then feel free to start implementing positive reframes. However, if you think you need 7-10 days to get the best baseline because you want to thoroughly gauge all of your activities then you’re welcome to do so. Remember to be honest with yourself.
By playing this game fully and to the best of your ability you’ll begin to reprogram your mind so that you’re only thinking and saying the greatest things to/about yourself. You’ll begin to observe yourself and the world around you in a brand new light. Your attitude will drastically improve and you may even notice the attitudes of those around changing as well. Developing positive self-talk is instrumental in cultivating and maintaining a – YES I CAN – winning attitude. This will also give you a powerful boost of confidence because you’ll know where you stand with absolute certainty and be able to proclaim your answer with total congruency.
NOW YOU’RE ON YOUR SIDE!
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