I am a self talker. Sometimes this conversation takes place in my head. Sometimes it is aloud. On occasion, Larry, a friend, a neighbor, or a colleague will walk in on one of these one-sided conversations, and we’ll have a good little laugh before going about usual business.
I know this is common and that most people do. But the thing is, I am a constant self-talker. My mind is never quiet. From the moment I hit the alarm clock at 5:35 AM, to the time my thoughts quietly slip away into dreams, there is constant commentary going on in my mind.
These thoughts are often jumbled and unorganized. I must make these copies, send this or that to the office, e-mail a parent, go to Target and pick up dishwashing fluid after work, etc., etc., etc…. I should have said this. I shouldn’t have said that. Oh, I can’t believe I said that all the way back in 6th grade! Can you believe this zit on my chin?!?!? What should I make for dinner? Wow, that’s a nice car. I wonder what time Larry will get home from work tonight. I bet the dogs would like a nice, long walk. I should have done abs at the end of my workout. It’s so pretty out today. Remember the storm last night? That was crazy….
Get the picture???
Because new thoughts are constantly forming, the older thoughts get pushed aside and are often forgotten (until, of course, the next time they pop unexpectedly into my head). It is a never ending cycle.
Sometimes the self talk is good. For instance, last night after tutoring and running a few errands it was 6:30ish when I finally got home. I really wanted to put my PJs on, and crawl up on the couch to watch a recorded episode of Ellen. But I “self-talked” myself into remembering how I made a plan to work out no matter what. Thus, I avoided the couch, and strapped on my sneakers.
I’ve also gotten much better about negative self talk. I used to be really tough on myself. I was never thin enough, pretty enough, or kind enough. My clothes were never fashionable enough, and I was constantly comparing myself to others. Though these negative thoughts creep up every once in a while, I have gotten much better about pushing these thoughts aside.
I am still learning to calm the incessant clutter that fills my mind. Are you a self-talker? Here are some tips I’ve picked up from various books and websites to help calm your mind.
1) Acknowledge your thoughts for what they are.
2) Make lists to help organize your thoughts.
3) Journal. Writing your thoughts on paper allows you can thoroughly express your feelings. It is a perfect way organize and analyze your thinking.
4) Push aside inessential stuff. The inessential thoughts are negative and do you no good. I love in yoga when my instructor says, “Acknowledge your thoughts and leave them at the door. If they are essential, you can pick them up on the way out of class. Otherwise, leave them there.” I try to follow this practice even when not pressed into a downward dog. :)
5) Exercise. When I exercise I am thinking about the task at hand, and have less time to think about the inessentials. Scientifically speaking, exercise increases “feel good” endorphins and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.
6) Take deep breaths. Deep breathing also increases endorphins and eliminates stress and anxiety. A good flow of oxygen to the brain helps your mind (and body!) to relax.
7) Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Negative thinking is really inessential. Leave it at the door. This one goes without explaining.
8) Meditate. Has anyone tried this? Does it work???
What have you found that helps to calm your mind???