Self-Talk: An Antidote for Stress

Self-talk directly influences our reality, as reality consists of the set of thoughts we have about our day-to-day life.

Of course, there are some definitive things we can’t “self-talk” away…

Example: If it’s raining outside, we can’t tell ourselves “it’s sunny and bright” and expect that to be true.

However, when it comes to our perceptions of and response to stress…that’s where the power of self-talk can have a massive impact.

What inspired me to write about self-talk this week was a result of my initial maladaptive response to stress.

Simply put, stress is a result of your brain and body responding to demand(s).

These demands aren’t always physical, as they can also present as chemical or emotional.

Regardless, when you’re experiencing stress, you enter into “fight or flight mode”—

And that’s where self-talk comes in.

If our set of thoughts takes on the “fight mode” it will result in us tackling our stress head-on, thinking of reasonable solutions to quell the overwhelm.

If our set of thoughts takes on the “flight mode” it will result in us trying to deny or flee from our stress, leading to discomfort, resistance, and ultimately, burnout.

Therefore, it is critical that we pay attention to and be mindful of our self-talk.

This past week, I tried my best to inject reason into my “internal monologue”.

Coming off of the weekend, my mind had shifted into fear-based and anxious thinking…leading my seemingly average week of classes, assignments, and work to look more like an elephant than an ant.

At first, my “flight mode” kicked in. I sulked. I catastrophized.

Then, I made the conscious decision to enter “fight mode”, and adjusted my set of thoughts and self-talk to form a logical, practical plan to attack my week with intention.

I repeatedly told myself “you’ve been through stressful times before, and you have overcome them”.

Above all, our reality of the stress we face is a result of the thoughts we associate to our stressors.

If we think of our stressors as scary and unattainable, our bodies and minds will respond accordingly.

If we think of our stressors as normal and manageable, our bodies and minds will respond accordingly.

The next time you are confronted with stressors, be aware of how your self-talk influences your perception of them.

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