Used to be, if you saw someone talking to herself at the airport, at a restaurant, or while walking down the street, you made an assumption that she might be mentally ill. Not anymore. Technology has revolutionized the way people talk on the phone.
Everyone seems to have an earpiece that replaces the old handheld devices. As a result, you don't know who's talking to whom, anymore. Talking to yourself, however, may not be crazy. In fact, it might be one of the sanest and most intelligent conversations you'll have all day.
How is self-talk different from talking to yourself?
With self-talk, you analyze problems, weigh options, and devise strategies for dealing with various situations. In some cases, you may find yourself talking out loud, as you work through whatever issue is occupying your mind. Negative self-talk can hold you back. Positive self-talk can help you make giant strides in coping with depression. It's a lot different from random mutterings and mumblings!
Changing Your Focus
Positive self-talk is all about changing how you see your role in difficult situations. You want to change that perception from a negative to a positive one. One way to accomplish this is to practice affirmations. Affirmations are short and snappy statements that hone in on your best qualities. They help you remember all the good things about yourself. Here are some practical and applicable affirmations for coping with depression:
Every day, I am getting stronger.
Every day, I see positive changes in my moods.
I have control over how I feel.
I eat healthy foods that help my body grow strong.
I exercise to increase my energy.
I reach out to others, when I need help.
Silly mind games? No, not at all. If anything is silly, it's the negative mind games you can play, when depression has control over your thoughts and feelings.
The Little Engine That Could has become part of American folklore. No matter what anybody else told him, he kept repeating the same positive thought over and over again. He had his own affirmation, and you know exactly what that was: “I think I can, I think I can…” He kept his focus and achieved his goal. You can too!
Changing Your Habits
Want to quit smoking? You're told to make changes in your routines. First, clean house. Get rid of all the cigarettes. Then, examine your habits.
If you always sit down and read the morning paper with a cigarette in hand, go for a walk instead. If you smoke to keep your hands busy, try one of those exercise squeeze balls and work your fingers that way. Or, if your friends are smokers and you can't keep from smoking when you're with them, you may need to make new friends who don't smoke. The point is that you're going to need to make some changes, if you're to achieve your goal.
It takes three weeks to change a habit, so don't despair if your new regimen to improve your body and your mind seems to be taking longer than you want. Out with the old and in with the new! Each day you're getting closer to making that new habit a part of your life.
Changing negative thoughts into positive ones works the same way. First, clean house. Sweep all those self-defeating thoughts out the door and into the trash bin. Then, when one of those thoughts tries to slip back in, remind yourself of your goal — a healthy, happy life — and turn that thought around to something more positive, change your activity, or call someone who will support you. Keep your focus.