Series: Emotional Suppression & Techniques to Manage It [Part 4 of 4]
The words of motivation and wisdom that we talk to ourselves when we need extra encouragement or when we are trying to cope with disturbing and intense emotions are also known as pep talk. People usually use a pep talk to cope with fear, discouragement, insecurity, and to motivate themselves to reach new goals. Allowing yourself to be your own motivation is a great way to boost confidence and self-esteem.
Sometimes we use a pep talk as an emotion suppression technique. For example, on those days when you feel fatigued and when it seems that nothing can go right, you can easily become overwhelmed with feelings of discouragement and disappointment. If this pattern repeats for a prolonged time, your psychological and physical well-being will suffer.
You can use a pep talk to banish discouragement, frustration, and other negative thoughts from your mind. Furthermore, you may use a pep talk to cope with tough times in life and suppress sadness and grief. Repeating yourself frequently that you are strong and brave can help manage these feelings and get rid of negative thoughts.
Self-talk can help you get through the hard times in life, recent research shows. A study suggests that people cope with stress more successfully if they address themselves in the third person. Namely, experiments showed that when people used third person self-dialogue, the brain’s activity related to emotions was significantly reduced. These findings suggest that self-talk in the third person helped individuals regulate their emotions.
Scientists believe that third-person self-reflection creates a bit of psychological distance from ourselves as it makes it look that we are thinking about somebody else. Therefore, self-dialogue in the third person can quickly provide perspective and inspire original solutions.
How to Effectively Use a Pep Talk
When trying to lift your spirits and overcome negative thoughts and emotions, try to keep the following tips in mind:
- When using a pep talk or self-reflection in third person, try to sound natural and to be kind to yourself. Also, keep your self-talk realistic. Imagine that your self-dialogue is coming from a loving person, e.g. your parent or a dear friend. Or imagine what would you say to a close person who is going through hard times and apply that pep talk to yourself and your situation.
- Allow enough space between your thoughts and feelings and your reactions. Instead of suppressing your emotions, try to externalize them – try to think of your problems and negative feelings such as fear, sadness, anger as something outside of yourself. For example, when you feel angry and frustrated, instead of yelling or being violent, try to say to yourself:” This is not me. This is my anger talking. However, I don’t need to listen to it and react aggressively. I can choose to breathe deeply and count to ten, and I’ll calm down.”
- Practice breathing deeply. Before you start your pep talk, lay or sit comfortably and breathe deeply. Concentrate on your inhale and exhale and repeat this until you feel totally relaxed and ready to boost your spirits with a pep talk.