The Coping Kete

No. 70: Being Specific

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice keeping my self-talk specific to help moderate my responses to things. Often I find my internal dialogue includes words like ‘always’, ‘everything’ and ‘never’ that generalise what I am experiencing in the moment out to all situations. This amplifies the emotions I experience as a result and makes things seem more significant than they really are.

This week, I will practice observing my self-talk during the day and using the most specific language I can find. So when I catch myself thinking things like ‘I always screw things up’ or ‘they never notice me’, I will turn it around in my head to be more like ‘I made a mistake just then’ or ‘they didn’t notice me just then’.

Rather than then allow myself to go down the path of remembering other times this has happened or might happen, I will focus my mind onto other specific things about this current situation. This might involve simply listing to myself the specific elements in play in the moment – from the temperature, to the environment, to the people around me, to my own reactions to these things – or it might involve listing the ways in which this situation is different from past similar situations. As my mind wanders onto other thoughts, I will remind myself that I can only know what is here now and bring my mind back to the task of observing and describing my current situation to myself.

Here I am in this moment, which I can only ever experience once.  

Once I am comfortable with noticing my self-talk and using specific language, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for soothing distressing or intense emotions.

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