The new wisdom is: don’t talk TO yourself, talk ABOUT yourself. I grew up hearing that if you talked to yourself it was bad. It was even worse if you referred to yourself in third person. According to Science Daily, researchers at Michigan State University found that talking about yourself in third person can help to reduce stress.
The rationale for this is very similar to something I have been saying for a long time. We need to shift perspective and get emotional distance when we are in a stressful situation. What these researchers are saying is that by talking about ourselves and the situation in third person it creates the change in perspective and allows the emotional distance that is otherwise very difficult to accomplish. Otherwise, we tend to get stuck in seeing things from inside our emotions.
So, instead of saying OMG, OMG, OMG over and over again, it might be better to ask “Why is Lea so upset?” or “What is Lea seeing that is causing her to be frightened?” Another example, “I am angry.” or “I am noticing some tension in my shoulders that I interpret as anger.”
This might take some practice but seems very reasonable. I think I might just try to think the thoughts rather than speaking out loud. Whoever is listening might have grown up like I did and would worry about me.
“No thanks, I want to keep my anxiety.” Can you imagine saying that? Or perhaps you might say, I’m too busy to take the time to meditate. Unfortunately those two statements are the same. Researchers in Michigan have found that anxiety (and cardiovascular disease) can be decreased with only ONE mindfulness meditation session.
Confession time: Although meditation is on my daily to-do list EVERY SINGLE DAY, I rarely do it. I always think I’m either too busy, too tired, or will get to it tomorrow. Reading about the study in Science Daily was a fantastic reminder.
The thought of meditation can be daunting. Although a topic for another post, there are many different ways to do mindfulness meditation. There are many free apps to download for your phone. There are youtube videos. And, there are lots of books on the topic. You can be silent, you can stand, you can sit, you can use a mantra. Which one you choose isn’t the important part. What is important is that you simply try one.
It sure is a good thing I know tapping. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to do a series of tapping exercises to help clarify my resistance to meditating regularly. At this point I have no idea what the problem is, but I’m sure that I don’t want to keep my anxiety! Don’t worry, I intend to share my tapping.
Experimental Biology 2018. “Even a single mindfulness meditation session can reduce anxiety: People with anxiety show reduced stress on the arteries after 1-hour introductory session.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2018.