I learned to talk to myself when I began suffering from panic attacks. It relaxes me. It balances me in a moment of chaos. It is my way of managing my panic symptoms, and it works.
But it’s more than that. It’s my way of affirming myself. It’s my tiramisu.
When I feel like a mess, I look in the mirror and tell myself, “You are not a mess. You were created by God in his own image; therefore, you are close to perfection. Go out there and be awesome!”
There was a time when I really hated my co-worker. But when I felt like shouting at him, I went to the washroom instead and talked to myself, saying, “The world will be a better place if you try to understand people more. If he gets in your nerves, just walk away. You are better than your anger.”
I used to have a stage fright. It kills me to be in front of people, especially if I have to speak. But I had to do it for a literature class. Besides calling on the angels and saints above to help me get through it, I told myself over and over, “It’s just for a few minutes. How bad could it be? You need this. You can’t fail this important subject just because you are afraid. Go break a leg!”
When I started having panic attacks, I found talking to myself to be a big help. It keeps the symptoms from getting worse. The moment I feel an impending attack, I breathe in and out for a couple of minutes, and then I go on to self-talk. I tell myself to take it easy. Just relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. Space out. “I am in a good place,” I say. “I will be okay. Nothing is going wrong. Everything is normal. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.”
And it helps a lot! Psychologists acknowledge the benefits of self-talk to improve your perception of yourself and alleviate tension, anxiety, stress, and panic attacks.
The study Talking Yourself out of Exhaustion: The Effects of Self-Talk on Endurance Performance investigated the effects of motivational self-talk on endurance performance. It showed that “psychobiological interventions designed to specifically target favorable changes in perception of effort are beneficial to endurance performance.”
On the Brown University web site, they published an article about body image, which listed some tips on how to boost your body image. One is to practice thought-stopping when It comes to negative statements about yourself. It explains that you CAN reprogram your self-talk about your body, and positive statements are needed to replace the old messages.
If you think that self-talk is awkward, well…you’re right. But only in the beginning.
Think of talking to yourself as a motivation strategy. Use it to create a more positive atmosphere. Do it to make yourself feel better.
Feeling awkward is nothing compared to the benefits you get out of self-talk.