In our home we believe that the things we say and the way we say them matter. What we vocalize is a reflection of what we’re thinking, and the ultimate goal is to use our brains (our thoughts) to create ideas that serve us well. If you tell yourself, either internally or out loud, that you’re an unhealthy person who eats too much and will never be able to control your appetite, that’s probably who you’ll be. And I’ll even go as far to say that you won’t be able to change for the better until you believe you can.
I was recently speaking with a church leader about the thoughts we have and he told me about a pharmaceutical friend of his that’s been working with people to help them get better sleep at night. This friend has seen some really good results, and do you want to know what his method is? Helping people believe that they’re the kind of people who sleep well. WHAT!? These people are literally getting better rest because they’re telling themselves (and believing) that they’re capable of it. Isn’t that incredible?
A study by Walden University says that “While self-talk research is ongoing, the Mayo Clinic experts say redirecting negative thoughts toward the positive may lead to increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, better physiological and physical wellbeing, better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, [and] better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.”
The way we talk to ourselves
So what stories are you telling yourself? Depending on the day and what things I want to focus on, here are some of the things I like to believe about myself.
â€¢I have enough time to do the things I want to do.
â€¢I’m a great mom and I do the very best I can for my children.
â€¢I have a beautiful, strong body and I take good care of myself.
â€¢I’m intelligent and I have a lot of important things to share through my writing.
â€¢My husband loves me and I’m an excellent wife.
â€¢I’m a daughter of God and He loves me perfect and unconditionally.
When I practice believing these things I find more joy, self-confidence, zest for life, fulfillment in relationships, and just overall feel a little more bad-ass than I would if I were thinking less helpful things about myself or my life.
The way we talk to children
I’ve been a parent for six years now, so not only do I feel strongly about managing my own thoughts, but I want to help my children too. I’m trying to teach them that what we think and the things we say matter. There are a few phrases that I’ve found to be commonplace between parents/children that I’ve decided to adapt to help us better reach our thought goals. Here are a couple.
“You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
In concept, I think this phrase is well-meaning. Basically the idea is you that you should accept what you’re given and not make a fuss. However, we changed it to “You get what you get and you’re grateful for it.” This helps place emphasis on choosing how we feel and not just on how we act.
“Did you hurt her feelings”?”
Its not uncommon to try to diffuse a situation between kids by asking this question. However, it implies that one child has control over how another child feels. So instead we like to ask the question “Did you treat her poorly?” I want my kids to know that it’s their responsibility to treat other people with love and respect, but they are NEVER responsible for how another person feels. Alternatively, I want them to understand that they’re responsible for their own emotions.
What are some of the things you think about or say on a daily basis that either help or harm yourself and those around you? The first step to adjusting the way we think/talk is practicing an awareness of our thoughts. There’s an incredible podcast called Better Than Happy by Jody Moore and her focus is to help people life their lives more fully by managing their brains. I could not recommend it ANY more highly. I’m basically obsessed.
I hope you’ll start using your thoughts in ways that better serve you. Please leave a comment and share a phrase you say (or are going to start saying) to yourself that helps you become a better version of you!
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