When I was ill my CONSTANT message to myself was “I don’t have the time or energy for anything that needs to be done”. Guess what? The Universe answered my request with abundance!
Today I want to talk about how negative versus positive self-talk can affect your life and how you can change it. When you are standing in line at a grocery store and you realize the person in front of you has an item that isn’t ringing up and it will be a while — how do you react? Do you calmly smile and say, “I hate when that happens — it’s Ok” and pick up a magazine or take the opportunity to think about your day and things that make you happy? When someone cuts you off driving maybe a little more aggressively than needed, do you say to yourself, “Wow — they must be in a hurry?” and move onto the next thought. Or continue singing along with a good song on the radio? I think it’s safe to say many of us have similar experiences to these or other things that might seem “not to go our way or cause distractions” almost daily. Only YOU can choose how your react to these situations and the messages you send yourself.
We all have knee jerk reactions to certain situations because they have happened a bunch of times in our lives and it is our habit to react that way. The great news is (most psychologists agree) it takes only 3 weeks (or 21 consistent days) of being mindful and changing your reaction to ingrain a new habit. I want you to think for a second about how you reacted to one of the above or a similar circumstance the last time it happened. If you reacted with calmness, clarity and the desire to focus on something happy — GOOD FOR YOU! Most people will react to these situations with anger, impatience, frustration and some even despair.
So how do you begin to change your habits and your self-talk if you commonly have negative reactions to situations like these? I can tell you what worked for me…. Firstly I thought about the most common occurrences in my life that caused me stress and rationalized them. Let’s take the grocery store example. If someone needs a “price check” or there is another reason for a hold up — usually no one is happy about the situation. It means extra work for the check out person to either look up the item themselves or have someone help, the person it happened to is feeling stressed because they are “holding up the line” and the people behind in line are giving evil looks and looking at their watches wondering “how long it will take”. Now let’s look at the possible reactions.
You could get stressed and mutter under your breath, huff and puff
about running late and bring your blood pressure up a few notches.
You could show empathy to the person in front of you and the check out
person by saying “I hate when that happens — don’t worry about it I’m
in no hurry” which will probably get a smile or two and add a bit of relief.
You could stop and breathe, think about how best to use this unexpected
time and go on from there.
Your time is only wasted if you tell yourself it is – there is always a place to go in your mind to make the use of time more positive.
Currently I react the second and third way but for years reacted with hostility, frustration and worry over being late or “thrown off schedule”. In reality, how much longer will it take? A few minutes? Wouldn’t you RATHER spend that time productively or feeling good instead of feeling badly and upset about a situation that is brief and you have no control over? Wouldn’t you rather relax the person in front of you and the check out person by commenting lightly and then think about something positive? Only YOU can make the decision to be mindful and to change the messages you are receiving.
Let’s take the second example of the speeding driver because “road rage” is something a lot of people are guilty of. I grew up in NYC and because I grew up with public transportation and the fact that I walked everywhere — did not learn to drive until I was 21. I did not drive daily until I was 29 and living in New Jersey (in my experience, THE WORST state to drive in). Road rage was something I had heard of but never experienced myself. WOW — did I get my fill in the 5 years we were there! My husband and I even adopted the 3 A$%hole rule for ANY drive you took. Meaning every morning when I drove my son to preschool (4 miles but 20 minutes away with NJ rush hour traffic) I would count the A$%holes that cut me off and as I said, “#1” I would breathe and not get upset, the same with #2 and #3. After #3 I was allowed to get upset and it was time to get off of the road and pull in somewhere to take a breath and rejuvenate before I drove again…. and started off again with #1. It was a good temporary solution for us but in hindsight it still left us thinking negatively about people and did not put me in a good space at all considering most days my count was up to #3 and I was ready to blow!
What positive things can you say to yourself after being cut off? Firstly wish the person well. If they are in that much of a hurry to be aggressive they likely are not very happy, are rushing to get somewhere or are a very bad driver that will probably wind up hurt at some point. Putting the positive energy out there for that person and in your head lets you move on and feel good instead of letting your rage escalate about something that is over and done with. You can tell yourself to “let it go” that instant. Realize that the moment is over and refocus on finding a good song on the radio or appreciating the scenery in the world around you. You can also give yourself a mental pat on the back for your improved behavior and for listening to your POSITIVE self-talk!
To change your self-talk you need to be conscious of what you are saying to yourself. Making changes like this GREATLY affect your life. Positive self-talk reduces your stress level which in turn reduces your chance of illness and pain. What situations are recurring in your life that bring you stress and how are YOU going to change the messages you send yourself? No one can change the way you look at, perceive things and talk to yourself about ANYTHING besides you.
Some people ask me for “proof” when I tell them that I used the Law of Attraction and the mind/body connection to heal myself of chronic pain and several chronic illnesses. Beyond the fact that I now FEEL great, have no more symptoms and have not touched a pain pill in a year there is also a science that is the study of JUST how strong the mind/body connection is. The medical study of how behavior and thoughts affect you physically is called Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). There are numerous studies that you can find online that have “proof” and it is also interesting to read about how far psychoneuroimmunology has come. I believe the study of PNI will help medicine become more integrative and complementary as time moves forward.
The definition is as follows:
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) investigates the relations between the psychophysiological and immunophysiological dimensions of living beings. PNI brings together researchers in a number of scientific and medical disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, immunology, physiology, pharmacology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, and rheumatology. The profound interest of PNI is in interactions between the nervous and immune systems, and the relation between behavior and health. Despite the protean approach to research, the outcome common to all research endeavors is the discovery of new information, or novel evidence, which contributes to the continuing and cumulative generation of knowledge. It deals with, among other things, the physiological functioning of the neuroimmune system in states of both health and disease; malfunctions of the neuroimmune system in disorders (autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency), the physical, chemical and physiological characteristics of the components of the neuroimmune system in vitro, in situ, and in vivo. PNI also involves endocrinology and is sometimes referred as psychoendoneuroimmunology (PENI).
The “Bible on PNI” to purchase is “Psychoneuroimmunology, Two-Volume Set, Volume 1-2, Fourth Edition” by Dr. Robert Ader — Dr. Ader has been called the “father of pyschoneuroimmunology”.
I knew I HAD to see this movie when it came out but having 2 young kids it seems I don’t get to any movie in the theaters that doesn’t have a PG rating on it. I was happy to see it offered on Video On Demand and finally got to see it a few nights ago. I highly recommend Americans see this movie. People from other countries would be educated by it as well but as an American it is an embarrassment to show JUST how screwed up our health care system is in this country.
Yes, I knew the health care system had BIG problems. This was not all new information for me considering I was ill for 7 years and have been dealing with a few health insurance companies during my illnesses.
I knew that health insurance companies declined people for pre-existing conditions.
I knew that 50 million Americans DO NOT have health insurance because they can’t afford it.
I knew people were declined NECESSARY treatments to save their lives because health insurance companies wanted profits not spending.
I knew health insurance companies were making record profits and sadly I knew how involved the pharmaceutical companies were/are in making expensive drugs for profit rather than their primary goal being to help those in need.
I knew that we are not taught about preventative care in this country but given pills to relieve symptoms.
What I didn’t know was that there are people whose job it is to refuse people treatment and that they are given bonuses based on the number of people they have refused with pre-existing conditions. After all sick people eat into profits because they need constant care.
I didn’t know that 18,000 people die yearly in the US BECAUSE they don’t have Health Insurance.
While I did know Canada, England and France offered Universal Health Care I did not know Cuba offered it or JUST how much aid and help is given to you by these countries if you are ill. Medication costs average about $10 no matter how many pills or WHAT medication you get. England has a service that comes to your house within an hour if you are ill (no cost). You can even get reimbursed for carfare for the times you need to go to a hospital. No paperwork, no money exchanged at all and they talk to you about PREVENTATIVE measures. Doctors are rewarded for patients that they refer for preventative care (no referrals needed). In France the government hires a nanny to help out new moms a few hours at a time a couple of times a week so the mom can be happy and adjust. These nannies will also clean, cook and do any other chores you need them to do while they watch your child. The government pays for all of this.
There are tons of facts featured in Sicko that will blow your mind. Click here to get the fact sheet backed up by links of proof. Prepare to be disgusted if you are American or grateful for Universal Health Care if you are not. I’ve got to give Michael Moore credit for trying to add some humor and to keep it from being just a totally depressing account of how messed up everything is. Yes, he can be obnoxious and sometimes seem “over the top” but he is getting an important message out there and DOING something about the changes he wants to see. To find out ways to help out and change the health care system in the US you can click the above picture or this link. I’d love to hear from people who have seen this movie and what they thought.
When and why did the US Health Care System become more interested in making money than healing people? Why is the US so GREEDY? How can we help change the future of medical care in the US? These are issues I think about every day. I sign petitions via Care2 that have to deal with Health Care and now I will pursue Michael Moore’s recommendations as well. Isn’t it time we made the US Health Care System care about EVERYONE and not just those that don’t mind paying $15,000/year for coverage that are NOT sick? Please help to BE the CHANGE you want to see in the US Health Care System and visit one of the above links to find out how to help. This is an area I am very passionate about and would love to hear how others feel about this. I welcome comments and emails!
Love myself? When I was trying to heal all my aches and pains of chronic illness this was mentioned in every book I read. Love myself, feel worthy, have self-confidence. This was a tough one because I thought of myself as an okay person — I have 2 young children I love and take care of, a husband of ten years that I love deeply, friends that I am very open with– but did I LOVE myself? I have always been hard on myself and a perfectionist so this was a difficult place for me to go.
I was ill, I had aches and pains and was not living up to what I wanted to be. I felt very sad about my health and all the extra work it was costing my husband, mom and children. I was very focused on what I was NOT instead of what I was. I started with listing things I was proud of myself for. I am a good listener, I love to write, I LOVE to dance, I help and reach out to my friends, my kids tell me what a good mom I am and shower me with hugs, I have a LOVING relationship with my husband that just grows stronger every year, I went to a prestigious high school and consider myself smart and love to read, I am good with the computer and games, I am a good cook… wow maybe I’m not so bad after all!
If you don’t celebrate and appreciate the things you are good at you are telling your subconscious you are not worthy of healing or of love. By concentrating on the bad and what you don’t have you are inviting it to get even worse. It is not easy to change negative thoughts over night but it is a lot easier than it would seem to be. Once you start concentrating on the good in you — you will feel your self confidence rise. Once you feel your confidence rise you will feel like nothing can stand in your way.
Let go of the past. Forgive yourself for things that happened before. Haven’t you spent enough time worrying and focusing on them? It’s time to move forward and to appreciate who you are today and what you will make of yourself and your future.
Do more of what you are confident that you can do well. Do you make your friends laugh? Call one and make their day. Can you cook? Make a nice meal and savor it. Do you enjoy reading? Read an article or book on something you have always wanted to learn about. Can you dance or sing? Turn up the music loud and dance and/or sing! Do your kids love when you read to them? Take extra time reading the them and watch their smiles. Are you good at a certain game/crosswords/sudoku? Play it and celebrate that you do it so well. Nurture what you love about yourself. Take pride and joy in what you love about yourself. Your love and confidence will shine through and you will be attracting other people to love you as well.