As the holiday season is in full swing, with many of us feeling overwhelmed, it is important to remember the usefulness of instructional self-talk.
Self-talk is exactly what it sounds like: talking to yourself. In fact, self-talk done right is not only a good way to instruct yourself, but can become one of those positive habits that keeps you focused and productive.
In his article in Psychology Today, “How You Can Use Self-Talk to Move Forward,” Reid Wilson, Ph.D. says, “Once you’ve given yourself specific instructions a number of times, you’ll develop some shorthand message that will represent the action you need to take.”
Children talk to themselves all the time; for example, you may have heard a toddler murmuring, “Don’t touch,” as if he’s remembering his mother telling him, and he’s reminding himself of her instructions to stop his impulse to touch.
Instructional Self-Talk Can Help You Stay on Track With High-Priority Tasks
Adults don’t usually need to remind themselves what not to do; it is more important to focus on what you need to do, given your priorities. When you engage in instructional self-talk, you review the items on your to-do list and focus on those of highest consequences.
Those consequences may be financial, social or personal. If you haven’t prioritized your list and are feeling stressed, then, your positive self-talk provides the instructions.
For example, say to yourself, “I’m stressed because I haven’t taken a few minutes to start chores or tasks that must get done. Look at the schedule and write in when to do this.” Self-instruction helps you concentrate on what, when, and how to accomplish a task.
Additional Benefits of Self-Talk and Self-Instruction:
- When you specify instructions, you increase your sense of control and push out the negative and distracting thoughts that may plague you.
- Forming these thoughts into sentences and speaking them aloud engages the brain in a way that forces you to concentrate on each item.
As the holidays bring new responsibilities heaped upon the old, try self-instruction to prioritize, plan, and feel satisfied with your personal and professional productivity.
If you want to give yourself the opportunity to learn how to integrate effective self-talk into your professional or personal life, I’m here to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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