If you’re a regular here with me, then you know how much I love self-talk. It’s one of the most important skills you can develop for your mental and emotional health.
And today, I’m sharing a little secret about self-talk and the simple trick that very few people know about. But it makes a huge difference! Check out video to get the scoop on this little known trick, as well as how you can start using it right now to be happier, healthier, and calmer. Let’s do this!
Seriously, self-talk is a necessity. It’s how we infuse logic and rational thought into times of anxiety. It’s how we practice compassion when we’re struggling. And it’s how we choose calm when stress is threatening to take over.
Self-talk is not some fluffy, life coach thing. It’s one of the most effective ways to rewire your brain and retrain your thoughts. I talk about it a ton on this site and with clients for a reason. If you’re not talking to yourself, guiding yourself through various moments in your day, then you’re missing out, big time.
But if you’re already on board with self-talk, then today is your lucky day! This trick will take your self-talk to the next level. And it’s so easy, and makes so much sense, you’ll wonder why you weren’t already doing it.
When you practice self-talk, I want you to talk to yourself in second person, not first person. First person involves using “I” language, while second person involves using “you” language.
Let’s look at an example with one of my favorite coping statements. “You can do hard things.” First person would be saying to yourself, “I can do hard things.” Second person would be saying to yourself, “You can do hard things.”
This difference might seem small or silly, but there’s something about self-talk in YOU language that cuts through our defenses differently. It challenges our doubt and fear more effectively.
When I feel tempted to buy stuff I don’t need, I lean on one of my favorite minimalist mantras. I could say, “I have enough.” Or, when looking down at that thing I’m tempted to buy, I can say, “You have enough.” When I’m trying to be mindful and in the present moment, I can say, “Be where I am.” Or I could say, “Be where you are.” Hear the difference?
Self-talk in second person almost sounds like someone else is talking us through a tough moment, rather than us talking to ourselves. And in a strange way, that makes it more believable to our brains.
You can also take it up another notch by adding your name in front of a statement.“Allison, it was an accident. It happens.” “Allison, you don’t have to figure it all out now. Just take one step.”
By adding your name to your self-talk statement, you’re grabbing your brain’s attention, grounding you in the moment. (PS: For proof that adding your name in front of self-talk works, think back to when you were a kid, and your mom would call you by your full name. If she yelled “Come here,” you might take your time, but if she said, “Sarah Marie Lewis!” you knew it was serious.)
So get your brain’s attention when you’re using self-talk. Add your name, embrace “you”, second person language. Help your brain register what you’re saying, soaking up the full effect.
From coping statements to mantras to personal catchphrases, I swear by self-talk. Help it sink in by making using this simple hack. Embrace, second person, YOU focused language. It makes a huge difference that you’ll notice right away!
PS: Did you enjoy this post? If so, you’ll probably like this one too. Why I Don’t Believe in Positive Thinking.