Why talking to yourself is not (always!) a bad thing

Have you heard the saying, "Talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity?"

Well if that saying is true, come lock me up!

Talking out loud obviously means other people hear us but we also hear ourselves. It is like the thought is turned into a sound and the ears then bring that thought back into your mind.  And in that little journey the thought has turned into something that the mind uses in a different way because it has now become an experience received by one of your senses.  Your ears got involved!

Have you ever had thoughts that you would never say out loud?  I know I have!  And that is often because we don't want to make that thought into an experience as that experience (probably) is not a good one.  And that then creates a reciprocally bad feeling.

Just imagine those bad thoughts you have about yourself (and I know you do!)  Examples may be "I am too fat," or "I look so old."  They don't leave you in a happy place, do they?  But now imagine saying them out loud and just notice how you feel.  Does that happy place become even more distant?

However, let's flip this!  What about saying positive things out loud?  

Now before you discard this idea as  belonging in 'woo-woo land' (trust me, it's quite a fun place!) when you say things out loud, the reverse is also true - it heightens the positive feelings the thoughts were toying with.  However, there is another big 'mind' thing going on behind all of this.

The subconscious mind does not rationalise or filter, it just absorbs.  So, if you are bombarding it with thoughts of "I am fat" it responds with "Yep, we can do fat."  Similarly, if you give it lots of "I feel like a 21-year-old today,"  it responds to that as if that is real too.  

(NB This is the whole rationale behind all the 'fake it 'til you make it' posters.  Your mind doesn't know about faking, it just gets on with whatever you are suggesting to it!)

And adding sound to the thought is a bit like turning a 2D image into 3D.  Your tone of voice, volume, intonation all add a new dimension that heightens the experience your ears receive and how your mind receives that experience.

I have adopted a new mantra this year that I am playing with.  Letting it rumble around my head is fine, however I took myself out of my own little padded cell (aka comfort zone) and started saying it out loud.  Yep, the first few times it felt a bit weird.  But after a few days, less so and now - well, it is becoming quite normal.  And the reason I persevered is that I noticed when I said those words out loud, they became more real - kind of like 'putting it out there.'  Once they are out, you can't take them back.  And this is a bit like becoming accountable to yourself.  

If we make a promise to someone then the likelihood of it happening heightens because you are being held accountable.  But it is easier to let yourself down - and even more so to disengage from the thought.  However, make that promise to yourself by saying it out loud and a little slither of accountability slips in and will start to impact on your motivation too, and the belief in what you are saying starts to change too.

Are you willing to give it a go?

Think of something you want to be a reality. For example, "I am fit and healthy."  And then repeat that thought in your mind a few times.

Now (and it's OK to do this in a room on your own!!) say it out loud.  Say it 10 times.  And each time you say it, add in more conviction, up the volume- say it like you mean it!

And now notice how you feel.

Was it uncomfortable to do?  If so, that's good because you have also stepped out your comfort zone and when you do this, you grow.  But did you also notice how by saying it out loud created a little drop of excitement, or belief, or even humour that wasn't there when it was just a thought?

I've been doing this since the start of January and my experience to date means I am going to continue it.  I'm no longer faking it - real things are happening! So, if you catch me shouting when out walking the dog, don't call the people in white coats please, I am just making my mind stronger!

Are you up for it???

Published by Caroline Cavanagh Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of Anxiety Alchemy. on |

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