3 Steps to Love, Care and Educate your Chatterbox
We all have one.
That voice which chatters away at inopportune moments. It has many names – chatterbox, monkey mind, 3am demon, internal terrorist.
What’s yours called? Mine’s called Harry
Why do we have one?
Our chatterbox was very useful once. As cavemen/women it was constantly reminding us that the world was a dangerous place – eat lunch or be eaten for lunch!!
Today you are much more likely to stub your toe or get shouted at rather than be eaten by a sabre tooth tiger. Our chatterbox doesn’t distinguish severity, so it will scream at you to STOP! DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL LOOK STUPID! BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!!! But you’re only going to walk into a room of strangers!
Is your chatterbox ruling your life? What can you do?
1. LOVE IT
Recognise that your chatterbox is part of what makes you, you. Being angry at it is being angry at yourself (something we may have been programmed to do from an early age). Acknowledge it and accept it. I know that Harry just wants to protect me, he’s like my inbuilt guardian.
Your chatterbox is full of FEAR and doesn’t want you to get hurt. It remembers how painful it was when you were rejected after falling in love, how angry you were when you over-ate to push down unhappy feelings, how nervous and scared you were when you gave that presentation. If you didn’t attempt to have a relationship, lose weight, move jobs, start a business, speak your truth you would be safe. Safe and certainty is what Harry is looking for.
2. REASSURE IT
Find some evidence to reassure your inner monkey so it doesn’t have to wake you up at 3am to remind you how dangerous and scary life is. Show Harry (and ultimately yourself) that you have been successful, and that you can handle getting a different outcome from the one you wanted. You’ve been rejected before, but you’re still here. Yes it was painful but you handled it. You’ve ‘failed’ before but you’ve learnt another way of how not to do it.
3. CHANGE IT
Who controls your thoughts? Where are the Thought Police? There aren’t any are there?… YOU are in control.
We can only have one thought at a time, so focus on what you’re thinking at that moment and use one of many techniques to change it.
1. The first step
- Just like you would say to a friend ‘Can we talk about something else?’ you use a similar approach to yourself only a bit more forceful. Yell something sharp and jarring to yourself to interrupt the thought flow. ‘STOP IT!’ ‘ENOUGH!’ You may get a few odd looks if you do this in the middle of a supermarket or the office. You are retraining your chatterbox so it will take a short period of time before it gets the message.
- If you want something that is slightly less intrusive try this. Wear an elastic band around your wrist and when you have an unhelpful thought snap the band and say to yourself a positive thought/affirmation. This is something I offer to clients on Weight or Stress Management Programmes and it works really well.
So, whether you’ve twanged the band or shouted to yourself you’ve now stopped the thought.
2. The second step is to implant a new thought. What would you like to think instead?
A great example of this is from a Stress Management client who couldn’t speak up at meetings as his chatterbox would kick in with ‘don’t talk they’ll think you’re stupid.’
By subtly using his band over time he was able to replace that thought with ‘I am good enough, my contribution is valuable.’ He is now an active contributor at meetings, even instigating new topics of conversation.
I trust that some of the above has been useful, there are many other tools and techniques available and I would love to hear what you do to negotiate with your chatterbox.
If you would like some help dealing with your Tom, Dick or Harry please give me a call 0780 325 4591, email me or join me at the next Self Development Meeting or a 1 day Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway workshop