Heidi Fledderjohn MA, BC-DMT is a Board Certified Dance/movement Therapist with 20 years of experience supporting peoples’ desire to learn deeply, grow and feel good. Using play, movement and meditation Fledderjohn generates a solid, soulful and vibrant method for approaching life, change and the self.
Patterns of negative or positive self-talk often start in childhood. Usually, the self-talk habit is one that’s colored our thinking for years, and can affect us in many ways, influencing the experience of stress to our lives. However, any time can be a good time to change it! Here are some ways you can stop yourself from using negative self-talk and use your mind to boost your productivity and self-esteem, and relieve stress.
Notice Your Patterns:
The first step toward change is to become more aware of the problem. You probably don’t realize how often you say negative things in your head, or how much it affects your experience. Here are two strategies that can help you become more conscious of your internal dialogue and its content.
Journal Writing: Whether you carry a journal around with you and jot down negative comments when you think them, write a general summary of your thoughts at the end of the day, or just start writing about your feelings on a certain topic and later go back to analyze it for content, journaling can be an effective tool for examining your inner process.
Thought-Stopping: As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought mid-stream my saying to yourself “Stop”. Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts, and where.
Thinking influences our feelings through the things that we say to ourselves. Unhelpful thoughts can add fuel to the fire and play a large role in keeping anger going after the event has passed. However, using helpful self-statements (or ‘cooling thoughts’) can be a good way to manage our anger and guide our behavior. Examples of these include:
- Chill out
- Calm down
- Breathe away the anger
- Don’t yell
- Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you angry
- It’s not worth it
- Give them a chance to have a say
To use this strategy we need to break anger into several stages:
- Getting ready for provocation: when we know we are going to face something that will make us angry.
- During the event: early signs of anger are cues to use coping strategies.
- Coping with stress: early attempts at anger management may not be successful.
- Reflecting on provocation: time to evaluate the effect of the experience on you, continue coping or give self praise.
Preparing for a provoking situations
- This is going to upset me but I know how to deal with it
- What is it that I have to do?
- Stick to the issues and don’t take it personally
- Try not to take this too seriously
- Time for a few deep breaths of relaxation
- Easy does it, remember to keep your sense of humor
During the event
- Stay calm, just continue to relax
- Think of what you want to get out of this
- There is no point in getting mad
- It’s really a shame that she has to act like this
- If I start to get mad I’ll just be banging my head against the wall
- What he says doesn’t matter. I’m on top of this situation and it’s under control
Coping with stress
- My muscles are starting to feel tight, time to relax and slow things down
- It’s just not worth it to get so angry
- Time to take a deep breath
- Try to reason it out. Treat each other with respect
- He’d probably like me to get really angry. Well I’m going to disappoint him Leaving the anger and looking back
- Try to shake it off. Don’t let it interfere with your job
- Remember relaxation, it’s a lot better than anger
- I handled that pretty well. It worked!
- It could have been a lot worse
- My pride can sure get me into trouble, but when I don’t take things too seriously, I’m better off