‘Self-talk’ lecture focuses on taking charge of your thoughts

By Rachel Hill - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Fri., May. 6, 2011
Dr. Doreen Stern conducts the last talk in a series entitled ‘New Year, New You.’ Photo by Rachel Hill.
Dr. Doreen Stern conducts the last talk in a series entitled ‘New Year, New You.’ Photo by Rachel Hill.

We’ve all heard that having the right attitude reaps rewards in life. But how many of us really put this into practice every day?

Experts say we can literally talk ourselves into feeling good or feeling bad, based on what we say internally.

In the third part of a series held May 3 at the Windsor Senior Center called “New Year, New You,” sponsored by Windsor Rehabilitation, Dr. Doreen Stern conducted a lecture entitled “Change Your Language, Change Your Life.” A speaker, writer, and success coach, Stern focused her presentation on some of the basics for changing what’s called negative “self-talk” to foster self-confidence and empowerment.

“I want to inspire others to inspire myself. I teach what I want to learn,” said Stern.  Following three simple guidelines - choose, act and expect - Stern emphasized that we must first choose what we want in life by identifying our dreams, act by taking tiny steps, and expect to get to where you want to be.

Using tools such as self-assessment tests and role-playing exercises, Stern worked with the group to reveal ways of changing self-talk that may weigh you down, and interfere with achieving your dreams. “Identify things that you are good at and fashion the life you want for yourself. Listen to the negative things you say and turn it around,” she advised.

Some of the tricks Stern employs include writing and reciting an eight-syllable affirmation, because she said people are accustomed to retaining seven to nine bits of information at a time. For example, if you struggle with a bad habit, such as lateness, say something like this to yourself: “I will appear at the right time,” and see if it makes a difference.

Another example Stern used was to keep in mind a store of helpful words that are positive, rather than negative. Some words that have power include “I am” and “I can,” but the two most powerful words, she said, are “I’ve decided,” because they include an intention. Some negative words include phrases such as “I can’t” and “I should,” because they carry judgment.

“What we say to ourselves matters,” said Stern. If you find yourself saying things to yourself like “I did a great job” or “I’m proud of myself,” then you’re on the right track.    

“Think of one thing you’ve decided for yourself and don’t forget to applaud yourself along the way. We can change ourselves more than we can imagine,” said Stern.

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