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What to do, when your self talk sabotages your body chemistry
If you’re sitting there thinking – I don’t. YOU DO ! We all actually have a running dialogue.
The internal chatter
Most of the time, the chitter chatter is pretty functional, such as
Wonder if I NEED another cup of coffee ? Or what do I feel like for dinner ?
But it can be, EMOTIONAL.
You idiot. Why did you do that ? What were you thinking ?
I FEEL GOOD, like I knew that I would !
Make it positive please
Now FEELING GOOD is not a problem, but when the self talk, turns negative – it is potentially DESTRUCTIVE. In an ideal world, what you want to do, is minimize this negative chitter chatter.
Unfortunately, this is not always easy to do…..
IT IS HARD WORK !
And anytime you have to WORK at something, it uses up resources.
Of course, in a moment of crisis, when being less emotional would be optimal, you more often than not, don’t have the mental resources to do this. So you unleash………………. a barrage of negativity. EISH !
So is there a way to BE naturally less negative ?
Look who is talking
A group of researchers from Michigan, think they’ve found a way to make self talk, a more affirming experience, particularly for those of us who are just not naturally positive thinkers, like ME !
They key to putting a more positive spin on the situation, is “change” who is talking.
Names are less personal
Names are usually used to refer to “others”.
When your brain hears a name, even your own name, it is thinking about “others”. In the moment, it briefly “disconnects” you, from the situation, because……………”others” are involved.
It’s NOT an out of body experience.
The disconnect is small, but it seems to be enough to make a difference to how you experience the situation – because, as an “other”, you approach the situation, more objectively.
Some of the raw emotion, is drained from the situation.
The team of researchers demonstrated, just how powerful, using a name can be, when they set 37 undergraduate students up, TO HAVE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE.
The emotional response was generated through images.
Some neutral, some “disturbing”.
As the images were viewed, the brain’s response to each image was tracked, by measuring electrical activity in different regions of the brain, while hooked up to an fMRI machine.
In one version of the EMOTIONAL experience,
- they encouraged the person to think in terms of “I”, i.e. What am I feeling, right now ?
- in the other, they encouraged the person to think in terms of their own name, i.e. What is “their name”, feeling right now ?
It made a difference.
Bar graph depicting the larger negative-neutral difference score in the First-Person compared to the Third-Person. Copyright 2017 Jason S. Moser et al.Emotions ran a whole lot higher, when I was in the picture…….
Making it real
Since looking at pictures is not the same as LIVING, an emotional experience, the team decided to verify that principle of taking the “I” out of the situation, works in real situations. Using different people, they looked at brain activity, in response to thinking about negative personal experiences.
The negative experiences were REAL.
They had been shared with the researchers, prior to the session.
Examples included being rejected and a bad party experience.
The experience was considered from an “I” perspective or from their “named” perspective.
Removing the “I”
Once again……………….. taking the “I” out of the head conversation, lowered the emotional response.
And the great thing about this………………..it didn’t require WORK !
It happened, automatically………….
Emotions DO impact BODY CHEMISTRY !
Regulate those emotions
Unfortunately, controlling your emotions can be challenging. This research suggests, whenever you get a blast of negative emotion, try changing the protagonist in the story.
Switch from “I” to “your name”.
From the psyche’s perspective, hearing…
Tom is an idiot, is a lot less DESTRUCTIVE, than YOU are an idiot !
Prayer time is time to be grateful. Researcers have found, people who are more grateful when climbing into bed, are better sleepers.
Bacteria need iron to grow, so iron levels are ALWAYS kept low, except during STRESSFUL moments, when iron is made available…….
Well meaning people tell you – THINK POSITIVELY. But they never tell you how to do it. This week’s Neurotechnology Tip gives you a strategy to help you do it