Part 1 of 4 Imagine two individuals sitting in stop-and-go traffic at rush hour.
One perceives himself as trapped, and says such things to himself as “I can’t stand this,” “I’ve got to get out of here,” and “Why did I ever get myself into this commute?” What he feels is #Anxiety , anger, and frustration.
The other perceives the situation as an opportunity to lie back, relax, and listen to music.
He says, “I might as well just relax and adjust to the pace of the traffic” or “I can unwind by doing some deep breathing.”
What he feels is a sense of calm and acceptance.
In both cases, the situation is exactly the same, but the feelings in response to that situation are vastly different because of each individual’s internal monologue, or self-talk.
self talk counseling
self talk counseling
The truth is that it’s what we say to ourselves in response to any particular situation that mainly determines our mood and feelings.
Often we say it so quickly and automatically that we don’t even notice, and so we get
the impression that the external situation “makes” us feel the way we do.
But it’s really our interpretations and thoughts about what is happening that form the basis of our feelings.
This sequence can be represented as a timeline:
In short, you are largely responsible for how you feel (barring physiological determinants, such as illness). This is a profound and very important truth—one that sometimes takes a long time to fully grasp.
It’s often much easier to blame the way you feel on something or someone outside yourself than to take responsibility for your reactions. Yet it is through your willingness to accept that responsibility that you begin to take charge and have mastery over your life.
The realization that you are mostly responsible for how you feel is empowering once you fully accept it. It’s one of the most important keys to living a happier, more effective, and #Anxiety -free life.
#Anxiety and Self-Talk
People who suffer from #phobias , #PanicAttacks , and general #Anxiety are especially prone to engage in negative self-talk.
#Anxiety can be generated on the spur of the moment by repeatedly making statements to yourself that begin with the two words “what if.” Any #Anxiety you experience in anticipation of confronting a difficult situation is manufactured out of your own “what-if statements” to yourself. When you decide to avoid a situation altogether, it is probably because of the scary questions you’ve asked yourself: “What if I panic?” “What if I can’t handle it?” “What will other people think if they see me anxious?”
Just noticing when you fall into “what-if thinking” is the first step toward gaining control over negative self-talk. The real change occurs when you begin to counter and replace negative “what-if statements” with positive, self- supportive statements that reinforce your ability to cope. For example, you might say, “So what,” “These are just thoughts,” “This is just scare-talk,” “I can handle this,” or “I can breathe, let go, and relax.”
I want you to consider some basic facts about self-talk. Following these facts is a discussion of the different types of self-defeating inner monologues.
.Types of Negative Self-Talk
Not all negative self-talk is the same. Human beings are not only diverse but complex, with multifaceted personalities. These facets are sometimes referred to as “subpersonalities.” Our different subpersonalities each play their own distinct role and possess their own voice in the complex workings of consciousness, memory, and dreams.
Below I’ve outlined four of the more common subpersonality types that tend to be prominent in people who are prone to #Anxiety : the Worrier, the Critic, the Victim, and the Perfectionist.* Since the strength of these inner voices varies for different people, you might find it useful to rank them from strongest to weakest in yourself.
The Worrier (promotes #Anxiety )
Characteristics: This usually is the strongest subpersonality in people who are prone to #Anxiety . The Worrier creates #Anxiety by imagining the worst-case scenario.
It scares you with fantasies of disaster or catastrophe when you imagine confronting something you fear. It also aggravates panic by reacting to the first physical symptoms of a