For the next 24 hours listen to what you tell yourself. Pay attention to the voices chattering away in your head. Notice your words, their frequency, and your tone. Record the results on your phone or a post-it note with the following headings:
“+” (a plus sign) for positive,
“N” for neutral,
“-“ (a minus sign) for negative.
Every time you notice yourself thinking, quickly review your thoughts and put a slash mark under the appropriate heading.
- Fun, happy or pleasant thoughts = “+”
- EX:“Mmm, this coffee tastes great.”, “OMG, I’m looking good.”, “What a pretty day.”
- Cranky, cynical or critical thoughts – of yourself, others or your circumstances = “-”
- EX: “I hate . . . “; “What a . . . ” “Why do I always . . .”; “This isn’t fair, I . . .”; ” I would never . . .” “He/She/This really makes me …”
- Instructional, general, non-emotional = “N”
- EX: “I need to fix the sink.” Time to change the oil”, “Hmm, do I need to turn left or right?”; “I need to buy new shoes.” (Oh, wait for some of us buying shoes might be a happy thought. I’ll let you decide.)
Be honest, and go with your first assessment. If a thought starts positive or neutral, but ends negative, or vice-versa, count it in the category where it ends.
I realize that noticing how often we are talking to ourselves and categorizing what we are saying can be both bothersome and, well, challenging, but I think you are up to it!
The truth is, most of us really don’t know what’s going on in our pretty little heads. We don’t have a clue of the messages we are sending ourselves.
Once you’ve tracked your thoughts for 24 hours, post your results below. Feel free to take part in the poll, even if didn’t categorize each and every thought, but did pay more attention than normal to them. Just be honest about your summary.
Thanks for sharing. Stop back over the next few Mondays to view the poll results, and learn what you can do to create some wishful whispers, which are softer than most of the noise in our heads, and much more relaxing, rewarding and productive.
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