Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stressless Saturday

I have been thinking a lot lately about the way I talk to myself. Most days it is not a problem, but there are some days when the words I say to myself I would never say to another human being. We’ve all had those days, when nothing seems to go right, or we say something stupid, or we make a mistake. Recently I found myself driving to my office berating myself for something dumb that I did earlier in the day. It wasn’t a big deal, but I was raking myself over the coals! By the time I got to my office I was feeling terrible. I was irritated, depressed, ashamed, and sick to my stomach.

I realized something about our thoughts that day…they have an impact on our body. We use phrases to describe our emotions that include their impact on our bodies…

“What a pain in the neck.”
“She’s a thorn in my side.”
“He’s a pain in my rear end.”
“I feel like he stabbed me in my back.”
“It has been such a heartache.”
“I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.”

We all have a certain place in our body where we hold our stress and tension. And most of the time we don’t even realize that our bodies are crying out for us to pay attention to the connection between our mind and body. It is bad enough when others cause us pain, but even worse when the pain is self-inflicted through our negative self-talk. Often we are harder on ourselves than we would be on anyone else.

Our self talk blows our “crime” out of proportion. When our self talk is negative, we perceive things as more stressful. It is not the event that causes our feelings, but rather what and how we think about the event that determines how we feel. By learning to identify, challenge, and change negative messages, we can reduce our stress, and the effect that stress has on our body.
So, take some time to listen to your internal self talk. When you catch yourself being negative, instantly replace the thought with a more realistic and positive one. It may take practice to train yourself to think more positively. But in the long run, it will be worth the effort for the peace of mind you’ll gain.

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 17:27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Proverbs 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

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