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How to Self-Talk Your Way Out of a Tough Spot

How to Self-Talk Your Way Out of a Tough Spot

    What is the one least-tapped resource in the world today? The power of thought. You can radically change the world around you, that is, every aspect of your life, by paying attention to your thoughts and tapping into the power within them.

    Part of being aware of your thoughts include paying attention to how you are talking to yourself.

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    Sound hard? Not at all. Here are five ways to self-talk your way out of a tough spot.

    1. Change your overall tune.

    Chances are, you got into whatever type of “tough spot” you’re in (financial, emotional, life situation, etc) by singing the song that life is hard. It isn’t. It doesn’t have to be. That “life is hard” song is like a top hit from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and even though it’s completely lost its popularity, you keep listening to it. Life absolutely does not have to be hard, and if it is, it is only that way because you have been telling yourself that it is.

    How to do it:

    Start every day on a new tune by telling yourself something new – tell yourself that things are always improving. We have collectively found so many solutions to our problems, a solution for your particular problem is just around the corner, just minutes away from being found. Life is getting better! Life is easy when you’re in the flow. Tell yourself it simply doesn’t have to be hard.

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    2. Learn how to cheer yourself up.

    You must not rely on anyone or anything else to cheer you up, because that person or thing will never be as consistent as you can be for yourself, once you know how.

    How to do it:

    Imagine that you have a personal cheer leading team, or a way-to-go aunt or uncle who always cheers you on. What would this person say to you? Even if it sounds ridiculous – like a squad of teenagers shouting “One! Two! Three! Four! Who’s the best one out the door! You are!!” – if it makes you giggle to yourself or smile inside, then do it. Connect with this “positivity team” in your imagination at the start of every day, and whenever you can throughout your day to boost your mood.

    3. Start out general.

    When you are really in the thick of those tough things, don’t try to affirm your way out with specifics. When you talk to yourself, go general in order to turn from negativity to positivity.

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    How to do it:

    Look at the core of the area of life where your problem exists – relationships, health, financial, or personal – and go as general and as positive as possible. For a health problem, you might try: “hey, six feet above ground is better than below!” For a relationship problem: “I have lots of friends and all sorts of people like to be with me.” For a financial problem: “Things really are going to turn around any day. The good thing about being at the bottom is that the only way out is up!” For business trouble: “All the big successful people and companies went through tough times before making it big…” Use whatever general, optimistic thoughts you can find to tell yourself.

    4. Trick yourself.

    Let’s face it, we do this all the time anyway, so we might as well harness this ability for our good. Rather than slanting things to the negative, make a conscious effort to slant them to the positive and trick yourself into thinking things are better than they may actually be right now. Your life will improve to match your “tricked” version of reality.

    How to do it:

    Whenever you are feeling down, ask yourself what thoughts you have been thinking for the last few minutes. Take any negative aspects of those thoughts and focus on the positive equivalent. You can always decide to be happy, in whatever situation you find yourself.

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    5. Do Something Fun.

    Okay, so this is more than talk, but it can often be the best mood-lifter and doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. We often “punish ourselves” (for all sorts of things) by not allowing ourselves to have or do that one little pleasure that we enjoy so much.

    How to do it:

    Let yourself have that reward now, even though you may not have quite reached whatever goal you had set. Stop holding yourself away from fun as a punishment! Go and do something you really love – that you can really lose yourself in – and don’t regret it for a second.

    Use all five tips above and watch your life swing around!

    (Photo credit: Young Man with a Mirror via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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