Image via WikipediaFollowing on from the last hint and tip are you still chattering away to yourself or have you committed some time to applying yourself to the meditation to stop your internal dialogue? Either way, you can do even more.
There are times to have your attention focused fully on the outside world. Paying attention to other people and the opportunities that are very often present for much of the time. Opportunities such as potential new careers, meeting new and interesting people, noticing works of art or perhaps really exceeding your customers expectations. That’s the ability to actually just be in the moment, a human-being.
Gordon Brown is said to be about to tell the British public “The recession is a test of character the British people must pass“as well as we Brits to “rise to the challenge of the economic crisis“. Now this may indeed be a good sentiment for us Brits who are now and will be paying in many ways for what is essentially ‘greed’ gone mad. But how do we survive a recession. Specifically, what can we do?
Taking charge of how you feel, physically and emotionally is one of the good places to start.
A great many people talk themselves into unfavourable emotional states and even ill health. Being able to stop your own negative internal dialogue is one way you can make yourself feel better and be more resourceful to be able to rise to the uninvited challenges that will test your character.
Fear not – if the internal chatter hasn’t quite stopped yet, there is an nlp way that will usually dramatically shorten the meditative time requirement to stop your internal dialogue. For those who think just reading this will be enough, sorry! Again you have to do the exercise.
One of the massive influences on and in NLP is the works of Carlos Castenada. He mentions his benefactors inferences on the importance of ‘Stopping the World’ as a prerequisite of personal genius and growth.
What is the Stopping the World?
Its quite simple, its an allegory for stopping the internal dialogue. And as a result it is about being present in the moment. Being present in the moment is arguably what Zen Buddhism is all about and one of Master Yoda’s teachings too, so it can’t be bad.
The importance and value of being able to, to have the choice to stop the internal chatter can never ever be overstated.
It is about having additional choice as to how to experience and as a result act in the world.
I remember once someone I know very well telling me how they kept track of where they are during performances and presentations, by taking to themselves most of the time in their internal dialogue. I was also privileged to view their performance and noticed how much of the audience responses and interactions they missed by talking to themselves.
Some of the people also watching this made the comment the performer in question was ‘wooden’ and some described this person patronising. I saw this with my own eyes and thought this person was a considerable way out of touch with their audience, missing important real time feedback.
This about it this way. I am sure you have been engaged in a conversation with a friend or colleague and then some thought of your own side tracks you and a little later you find yourself nodding ( in hopefully the right palaces ) and having no real idea what the other person has just said. I think this is an experience we all have had ourselves at some time.
So what can you do about it?
the good news is its actually very simple.
We experience the world with our five senses. What we see, smell, hear, taste and feel.
Think back to the last time you saw a film or listened to some music,it doesn’t matter which. Now remembering the sounds from this memory, answer the following for yourself.
- Where does the sound sources(s) come from? Left, right, behind, above, directly in front etc?
- What is the volume of the sound? High, low, natural sound etc?
Now think back to a conversation you have had recently. Answer the following for yourself.
- Where does the person you are talking with voice sound like it comes from. Left, right, behind, above, directly in front etc?
- What is the volume of their voice? High, low, natural sound etc?
- What vocal qualities does their voice have? Gravelly, whispery, sharp, angry, sexy, soft
- What is the tone of their voice? High, low, modulating, monotone?
- What is their rate of speech? Fast, slow, medium?
Before you work with your own internal dialogue, here is an experiment for you to try. Remember back to that conversation you had recently and have a play with changing individually all the qualities you identified.
If they spoke fast, slow it right down. If they have a gravely voice change it to a soft whispery voice. If they speak in a high tone make it a low tone. If they were in front of you, imagine they are off to one side then the other.
It is really important that you take just five minutes and experiment and change things around.You can have as much fun as you wish doing this.
Working with your own internal dialogue
OK, here it is. It is really important for you to have done all the previous exercises ( about 8 minutes ) if you want to get the most out of this. Now, check in your own internal dialogue and answer these questions.
- Where does your internal voice sound like it comes from. Left, right, behind, above, directly in front etc?
- What is the volume of your internal voice? High, low, natural sound etc?
- What vocal qualities does your internal voice have? Gravelly, whispery, sharp, angry, sensuous, soft
- What is the tone of your internal voice? High, low, modulating, monotone?
- What is your rate of speech? Fast, slow, medium?
- Now, whose voice does your internal dialogue sound like?
The first thing to to is realise that in the same way you changed the qualities of someone else’s voice you can do the same with your own. Here are some things to experiment with.
- Change the volume of your internal voice. Make it go absolutely silent, make it louder.
- Change the the rate of speech. From sounding like Mickey Mouse on helium to a sleepy Moomin just waking up.
- Alter the vocal quality. make the voice sensuous, make it raspy and make it whispery.
- Modify the location.
- Experiment changing your voice to a person you respect and admire or some helpful deity.
Now, once you have really had a good exploration and enjoyable play, find out what is going to benefit you the most. Again you have to be willing to experiment and change stuff around until you really like it. And remember, you can always put it back the way it was or change it to something else.
What benefits will I get by doing this?
Right now I invite you to commit to doing this now for 10 minutes and you will have done the whole exercise.
Of course you really do have to practice to feel the benefits. Make the time. The results are astounding.
It is quite likely that most people who read this won’t do the exercise. They will talk themselves out of it, wont be able to make the time, any number of excuses. it takes just 10 minutes the first time and will likely take much less to practice your new skills.
Before you commit to starting this, take a moment to note down the level of stress, anxiety, worry, calm, relaxation and optimism etc in your life. Rate them out of 10. After one week of practising changing the qualities of your own internal dialogue to simply quietening it right down revisit those marks out of ten.
Be one of the small percentage of people who will do more than just read the article.