Recently I read an article in Psychology Today that discussed a simple change in how we talk to ourselves. It seems that if we are in the habit of using the first person “I” as we talk ourselves through a situation, we raise our anxiety levels. If we use the third person, our names, we lower anxiety. The article discusses the brain science behind this, which is fascinating.
It got me to thinking how we learn to talk to ourselves, and I think I may be on to something. It seems to me that if, as children, we have calming, supportive parents to talk us through a crisis or a fear, we learn to incorporate their voice, using our name. But if we are largely on our own in those situations, we may learn to simply “talk to ourselves”, saying for example, “I’m scared, but I can get through this”, instead of “Mary, you’re strong. You can get through this.”
Read the article if you have a chance. Even if you don’t, try consciously changing your self-talk. Use your name instead of saying “I”, and see if you feel calmer. I think you will.