Everywhere you look in the self-help world you hear a lot about the “talk” or “voices” in your head. There are all kinds of strategies and books out there that attempt to help you get that noise in your head under control. In a previous post I’ve mentioned how using mantras has helped me in the past.

Today I read an article called 18 Habits of Highly Successful People by Shana Lebowitz. The very first habit listed is “They Talk to Themselves,” but it was not what I expected. Apparently there is research that says when you talk to yourself you should use the third-person instead of the first-person. So rather than saying to yourself “I can do this!” you should say “Jenny (or insert your own name), you can do this!” The research shows that talking to yourself in this way can reduce stress or help you see stressful situations as challenging instead of stressful.

When I first read this and thought about addressing myself in the third-person, I almost laughed. Seems so silly to talk to yourself that way! But being on the never ending quest of finding ways to improve my life, I decided to have an open mind and give it a try. Keep in mind that I’ve only tried this for one day so far, but after one day I didn’t see or feel a difference as a result of talking to myself in this new way. As I found myself struggling with various issues today, I used the new talk with my mantras. I don’t feel that the refocus I gained from the mantras was any different than it would have been had I still been using the first-person. I used two mantras today and the first one was already in the third-person: “Focus on how you want to feel.” And the second one was: “I can and I will” which became “You can and you will.” With the one I changed, I felt like it actually lost that self-empowering and determined feel that it has in it’s original version.

So in conclusion, I will continue to try this different way of talking to myself because I know just one day of trying something isn’t enough. And I look forward to investigating the other 17 habits of highly successful people from the article.


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When you are struggling with something, how do you manage to get through the day? In the past I have often used mantras and I’ve found them to be very helpful. I first read about mantras over 10 years ago in a book called, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma. Like many books that I’ve read, this one emphasized our inability to control our thoughts and how that contributes to or even creates the issues we toil with. In the book the author says, “A mantra is nothing more that a collection of words strung together to create a positive effect.” Sharma suggests using mantras daily and all day long in order to affirm all the good in life.

This morning as I was struggling with being tired and wishing I wasn’t at work, I had some time to fill, so I took my class on what I call a Mindful Walk. We walk outside around the building on our way to Physical Education class and we are silent and focused on what we notice in the world around us. As I started on this walk I was not paying any attention to the world around me and instead was lost in negative self-talk. I caught myself and for some reason decided to use a mantra. There was recently some tragic teenage deaths in a nearby community and the mantra that sprang to mind was, “I’m lucky to be alive.” Just reciting this mantra silently to myself during the first few minutes of the walk allowed me to relax and let go of the negative self-talk and actually do the Mindful walk as I had instructed the students to do. I believe that this positive self-talk and the feelings it evoked allowed me to have a much more positive day than I would have had otherwise. I want to remember to use mantras more often because I feel they are a very effective tool for me.

For more information about the book and author visit: http://www.robinsharma.commonkwhosoldhisferrari