• Tiffany Skidmore

Why self talk matters more than ever

For a long time, I wasn't even aware of the thoughts that ran through my head all day long. When they were super loud and grabbed my conscious attention, usually with a "well, that was really stupid" or "you'll never get this right", I never considered that they might not be true or that they were optional. Over the past several years, I've learned from amazing teachers and mentors how to work with my thoughts, understand my brain better, and change the patterning and self-talk in my head. Why does this even matter? Because what we say to ourselves about ourselves and our lives is how we create our reality. Our beliefs are directly related to the results in our lives and how we experience each moment. Our thoughts (especially the ones on repeat that turn into beliefs) determine how we feel. Feelings are neurochemical reactions in the body; we could also call them "vibrations". What we think and feel shows up on a cellular level in our bodies. If we are thinking and feeling things that keep us in a chronic stress response, the immune system is impacted, digestion and recovery is decreased, and the whole system is on high alert.

The body believes us, no matter what we are choosing to think on repeat. Now, more than ever, is the time to be intentional with our self talk — to think on purpose. How to get started?

First, start paying attention to what goes on in your mind and heart on default. One of the best ways is journaling. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write the whole time. Follow your brain train wherever it goes. Don't edit, don't revize. Dump the contents of your brain out on the page. Then, notice. What's happening in there? Be as curious as you can, refraining from any judgement. Hold yourself with compassion as you become aware of what's going on in your head. Next, know that your thoughts and feelings are REAL. But, it's possible they are not true.

They will feel true, especially the ones you've practiced a long time. However, with intentional practice, you will shift into more useful beliefs and thoughts, and the old limiting ones will feel less and less true as you do. Finally, choose one thought that feels a bit more expansive or useful for you today. This should be a thought you can step into and own, like a pair of jeans that fit. (And sometimes, it takes trying on a few thoughts to find that right one, just like jeans!) Don't try to jump from, "Nothing is ok. We are screwed." to "Everything is fine." Your brain and heart won't believe it. A thought like, "this is happening now" could be more useful because of its neutrality. It might not feel good, but it acknowledges what is without catastrophizing it. A step in the right direction. Other possible thoughts that might be more useful: "This is not forever." "This is an opportunity." ⃪ your brain will go to work to find the opportunities "I've done hard things before. I can do this too." Not sure how to apply this to your particular situation? Shoot me a message, I'm happy to help you get started today. I love you, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, however you are feeling. I love you. I see you. You are ready. You can do this.

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