Written by Dr. John Carosso
How to clear the ‘internal dialogue’, better known as ‘chatter’, in our heads
I wrote earlier that the chatter in our heads can be as distracting as any external annoyance, and more anxiety-provoking than the actual fear. Our ability to self-sooth, through calm and reassuring self-talk, and re-direct our internal dialogue is vital and can make a big difference in completing tasks. In my earlier post on the subject, I mentioned a few ways to calm that chatter, but here I’ll describe three even more powerful tools. Okay, here we go:
The spiritual connection
Prayer is calming and channels our thoughts to a higher power, which is reassuring to know that the King of the Universe has you and your family’s back, and powerful in terms of God directly intervening and calming our thoughts, spirit, and situation. Memorizing scripture, such as cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you, 1 Peter 5:7, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians, 4:13, slows the chatter and fights those negative thoughts that counter our kid’s progress. God also seems to think that such contemplation it’s worthwhile and the-more-the-better, i.e. pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
How many times have you been doing something with your children or spouse, or maybe walking the dog during a quiet and peaceful evening, and you should be enjoying the moment but, instead, your mind is a million miles away contemplating all sorts of negative and fretful things about tomorrow, last year, and what you should be doing instead of what you are doing? There are few things that so thoroughly steals our joy, robs us from being present with loved ones, and inhibits our ability to enjoy any given experience. So, don’t do that!!! Instead, take captive every thought, 2 Corinthians 10:5 (bonus Scripture), that is to say, take control of your thoughts and focus ‘in the moment’ on who you’re with, what they are doing, the smells, sounds, how you’re feeling, the sentiment of the moment – wrap yourself in the experience and truly live in that time and place. It’s really not hard, and it’s so worth the effort.
Meditation and Progressive Relaxation (self-hypnosis)
So, I’m not entirely familiar with the eastern philosophies and their spiritual underpinning and techniques, but if the goal is to clear your head then this technique is apparently something worth considering. I understand that even kids can learn this mantra, so to speak, which slows things down and is quite calming. I’m far more familiar with progressive relaxation, which is essentially self-hypnosis. In that respect, most don’t know that hypnosis is essentially a deep state of relaxation. In any case, if you try progressive relaxation, which involves, paradoxically, actively and purposefully relaxing your body and thoughts, you’ll notice how much more relaxed you become compared to only, for example, laying down and taking a nap. In fact, ironically, we can actually be quite uptight and tense even when we think we’re “relaxing.” Kids can easily learn to take control of their body and mind, and quickly progressively relax, at any point during the day. It’s quite powerful and calming.
Try these techniques and see what works for you and your kids. Please provide feedback in that respect on my Facebook page. Okay, now go and calm that internal chatter.