Your Older Sister: On Healthier Self Talk

One of the most prominent voices you’ll ever hear is your own. Self talk plays a huge role in the way you carry yourself. The more aware you are of your thought processes and self talk, the more effective you can be at all facets of your life.

Get to Know Self-Talk

Self talk is exactly what it sounds like. It is the process by which you communicate with yourself. It is how you handle yourself. When you quiet your mind, what do you find? Often, we are taught to be critical of ourselves. This critical lens turns quite negative, though.

For example, you may find yourself saying things like: “What’s wrong with me?” or comparing yourself to colleagues and friends. Some people even go as far as questioning their value and worth.

 

What’s the Big Deal?

 

Puns aside, what’s wrong with negative self talk? A lot. Negative self talk leads to severe self doubt. You start questioning if you are up to any challenges. Not only that, you also find yourself trapped in a negative loop. It builds up anxiety and panic levels, with depression skyrocketing.

The way you talk to yourself has a lot to do with your self worth. Are you worthwhile? Worth taking a chance on? What you say to yourself translates to how you expect others to treat you. It also connects with your expectations from yourself. What can you accomplish? What are you capable of?

1. Monitor the Negative Chatter 

What you hear and think affect how you feel, so it’s key to recognize your thought patterns. How do you perceive the world? What is your perspective on how you are treated by others and how you treat yourself? Are you surrounded by people who say negative things to you too often? Maybe separate yourself from the chatter every once in a while.

2.  Positive Influence

It’s pretty helpful to find people who influence you positively. Surround yourself with love, to yourself and to others. As always, I will have to recommend the very powerful idea of having love, affection, and compassion to yourself and to others. Look up songs you love, make playlists, find positive self-help people or artists who make you feel good. Maybe search for inspirational stories to watch when the negative chatter gets to you.

 

3. Affirmations

This one feels a little strange to share, but maybe you could consider affirmations. I enjoy Gabrielle Bernstein’s affirmations in her books. I used to create mood boards of positive things in my life (literal boards). Now, I go on Pinterest and look up affirmations or Tumblr. Blogs can be a great tool to help you find good things to say to yourself. A nice tip to keep in mind is to think of yourself as a child of the universe, and offer support and gentleness to yourself.

 

4. Cautious Wording

Rather than saying you “can’t” or “couldn’t,” try to rephrase your self-talk to something more empowering. You “don’t,” instead, sounds more of a choice rather than something relating to your abilities. Be gentle with the way you phrase things. Obviously, we all slip up and we pick ourselves back to where we were or even higher.

 

5.  Have Goals

Little goals or big goals, just try to give yourself a purpose to fit your life into. I like to make little goals so things can be more achievable. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed. But, I do have overarching goals, too. You could consider writing these goals down to hold yourself more accountable and to have a tangible thing to go back to.

 

Your Turn:

How do you manage your self talk? What are some of your favorite tips to improve your relationship with yourself? Share in the comments!

 

For More:

Make Your Self Talk Work For You

The Importance of Positive Self Talk 

What is Self Talk? 

 

I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I'd like to
I wish therapy was discussed more in media, In doing so, it can be approached
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Your Older Sister: On Conscious Living

In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try to live consciously. When you know yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, life’s surprises don’t shake you as much.  Here are some tips for more conscious living.

Slow Your Roll

Breath carefully. Part of this awareness comes from your breath. Try to find your own rhythm of taking in inhales and exhales. One of the coolest things I have learned in recent days is the concept of ease. Tara Stiles talks about extensively in Strala Yoga. There is this weird idea that we need to be in pain to gain what we want.  I never understood how and why that would ever work. But, I like the notion of moving with ease, breathing, carrying yourself with a sense of content and happiness. The rest will come on its own.

Thinking Carefully

So, you need to be thinking carefully as well. You do have to get in touch with yourself frequently, on a daily basis at least. Try to figure out how you feel about things. How do you process what happens in your life? How do you dream? What do you dream of? Why do you think this way? When, how is it triggered? Where do you find yourself in reaction to these things you are faced with? Getting in touch with yourself allows you to have this awareness and understanding of why you feel and act the way you do. In therapy, we often talk about how mindfulness and observing feelings allows for a more leveled reaction. “Oh, I see that I am feeling judged, which makes me defensive. I don’t need to do that. I am safe. I don’t need to justify my worth to anyone.” Simple mantras like this help get perspective and avoid hurting yourself and others.

Find Your Own Truth

Another tip for living consciously relates to finding your own truths. In particular, doing so rather than following what is taught as the standard form of truth. In establishing this habit, you set your own rules and standards. Once you know what you stand for, you can figure out who you want to become based on these rules, you then can shape your reactions and actions based on what you value.

Self Awareness

It’s about following intuition but with a sense of awareness, because not all things that come with ease are right. I think it’s key to not fall into the trap of knee-jerk reactions. Yes, it’s hard to find the stillness within in a world that is in fast-forward constantly. A well-thought out response takes effort, especially when starting out, but it is worth it.

Self Acceptance

There also comes this acceptance of who you are and your capacities. This self-awareness is not about limiting yourself, but it is about not forcing things. Let your strengths shine, and be understanding of what you can and cannot do. I think some trial and error can help guide you along the way, but there’s also the concept of saying no more often. Reject what is expected and find what you value, follow that as a guide.

Empathy and Forgiveness 

Another aspect of living consciously lies in forgiveness and understanding others. It is a challenge to see where people are coming from, but compassion makes us more than just reacting objects. It gives us perspective and it allows others to see us with love and understanding in return.

I’ll end with this note: it’s hard to develop this tuning within, this understanding of oneself and our ethics, values, talents, capabilities, because we live in a time where urgency is everything. We’re so caught up on the literal, the physical, the tangible, that we forget to go inwards and get in touch with our deepest beliefs. We are taught to give in to societal terms and rules and regulations so much that we suppress our own values. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can lead a happier life, a more content and peaceful life, with acceptance and love for yourself and others.

For More:
A Guide to Living Consciously 
5 Tips to Conscious Living 
21 Ways to Live More Consciously 

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Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

Your Older Sister: On Self Care

I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I’d like to give you some ideas on how to take it slow and care for yourself, the one person you got for life. First, let me start with why it’s nice to care for yourself. It may seem like a given, but if you have mental illness or low self esteem, these things don’t come naturally.

 

Also: I hate to point fingers here, but the media and society as a whole don’t really encourage self care. It is portrayed as a selfish act and indulgent as hell.

That is a small minded way of seeing self care. It is rather simplistic to assume that taking care of oneself negates the care we have for others. In fact, I posit that caring for others is dependent on care for oneself. If you want to be a better friend, lover, child/offspring, perhaps you should consider spending some time with yourself. Let me give you some ideas.

Cleanse 
The truth is, we need to cleanse ourselves from a world that is often filled with awful, terrible things. You’ll need to process what you have experienced. On a literal level, you’ll need to cleanse your body, face, and hair. These things are taken for granted, but, I remember being so overjoyed to be in my own shower after being in the hospital because: a) privacy, b) an opportunity to not stress out, c) self-soothing. Try to see them as opportunities to pamper yourself. Take your time. Breathe. Notice your body. Observe the crevices and creases. When I was little, I used to count fingers and toes, grateful. I try to remind myself to do that every day now to put life in perspective. Love the body you’re in. Work towards that goal, and know that some days will be better than others.

But, the cleansing is not just physical; you can also need to emotionally empty the negative feelings otherwise they will fester. I find journaling crucial. You can go on a run just to release the anxiety. Walking is a good alternative, if you’re like unfit like me. Yoga and meditation are also quite helpful.

For More:
–  “Reasons to Meditate.” 
“Why is Meditation So Important”
“Shower Meditation.”

Create
When life throws you curve-balls and you don’t know how to process it, sometimes it helps to be creative. Try not to pressure yourself into it, obviously, because you don’t need more stress in your life. But, if you can, try to take pictures, draw, paint, create graphics, dress up, play with your hair, get a haircut, change up your appearance, paint your nails, do your makeup, reorganize your room, your books, your clothes, create play lists. There are so many things you can do to put out positivity into the world. Here are some more ideas.

For More: “Why We All Need A Creative Outlet.” 
  “What I Wish I Knew About Creativity When I Was 20”
“Every Millennial Needs a Creative Outlet.”  

Connect 
I think one of the best ways to break the loneliness of sadness or negativity is to converse with someone. If you’re like me, and you can’t bring yourself to physically speak because of anxiety and mental illnesses, try to do it on a grander scale. Listen to some poetry or audio books. It is a great consolation, finding your place shifted and changed as you are exposed to stories of different people. Sure, some would argue that literature can be about escape, but I suggest otherwise. I see it that the point of literature isn’t so much about traveling through time and space, but perhaps to find the similarities, to notice the links we have with others, the common grounds we may have.

And, even if you read completely different perspectives, it helps to be engaged in a dialogue with them as you are experiencing their narratives. It is this beautiful connection where the conversation keeps going on, whether as you are writing a response, or talking about it with someone else, or maybe tweeting the writer, or even just thinking about it to yourself. It’s all connections. It is all a back and forth.

For More: “Pretty Bad Ways to Start a Conversation.” 
“This is Your Life on Writing.” 

One of the most prominent voices you'll ever hear is your own. Self talk plays
I wish therapy was discussed more in media, In doing so, it can be approached
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try

Your Older Sister: On Getting the Most Out of Your Therapy Sessions

I wish therapy was discussed more in media, In doing so, it can be approached with better understanding. In turn, expectations can be adjusted to more realistic levels.
Therapy is a conversation between you and a licensed professional. However, I do want to posit that therapy is more of a form of self care. It is like meditation: it requires focus and precision. Moreoever, it requires a patience. Patience is necessary as it takes a lot of time and effort to find: a) the right therapist, b) the right pacing, c) the right balance of talking and listening, and, d)the right approach from participating parties.
Professional and Approachable

When looking for a therapist, it is crucial to find someone who is able to be approachable and professional at the same time. I have met doctors who were so detached and clinically cold, it was off putting and discouraging to talk to them at all. They scribbled notes, frowned the whole time, and some even jumped to conclusions and diagnoses. It is not bad to have a diagnosis (in fact, I strongly recommend asking for a diagnosis by the first two sessions).

Lifestyle

Next, you need to make sure the therapist you are working with is supportive of your lifestyle. I have encountered homophobic and racist therapists, unfortunately. Therapists, for the most part, tend to be upfront about their approaches and techniques. While in the mental hospital, I was exposed to a heavy dose of Judeo-Christian influences in our group therapy sessions and 12 Step Program.

Gender and religion sometimes can help when it comes to therapy.  Often, as an approach to trauma, doctors remind me of a bigger picture when it comes to my struggles, but, of course it depends on the patient–or as they refer to us: “clients.”

Pacing

Let’s talk about pacing. Therapy is all about give and take. You don’t want to go to a therapist without a plan. It’s very helpful to write down things you want to tackle in the session. You can make a mental note of topics and incidents you’d like to discuss. Sometimes, topics come up organically, and it’s very advisable to go with the flow in these instances. But, for the most part, it is your session, so please do take it seriously and take control. Steer conversations to hit on your troubles. The key is to ask questions so that you are not doing all the talking. Ask about your diagnoses and tendencies. After a while, you and your therapist will find there are prominent topics that ebb and flow through your life. Sometimes, it is bad habits (like negative self talk, or all or nothing thinking, and so on). At other times, it is illness-related issues, such as: trauma, assault, abuse, drug abuse, self harm, etc.

Try to create continuity from session to session by asking for required reading, videos, or homework. These things should help apply coping techniques discussed in therapy. If your therapist is not giving you coping techniques, ask them to. Remember, this is your session. It is up to you to make the most out of it.

Now, go get theraped.

Good luck.

  I have been in therapy since mid 2012. I remember the fear and anxiety
I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I'd like to
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try