this is an interesting subject to me because I am constantly working with my clients on positive self-talk.
The first thing I usually do it make my clients aware of their negative wording. Often, it is so ingrained that they do not even notice it any more. When I hear it, I immediately re-frame the statement. A statement like “I’ll never get this right” will be converted into “I know this is difficult for you because it is a new exercise. I chose it because I have seen you mastering similar challenges, and I can see that you already have some of the moves correctly”.
One of my clients (and now a very dear friend) recently experienced a very difficult health challenge with surgeries and hospitalizations. Enough reason to feel down and to believe that nothing will ever get better. One of my mantras became a statement like “I see how discouraging your situation is, and I know that is very easy to give smart advice about all that ‘positive-thinking stuff’ than to apply. But given your situation, dwelling on things that could have been are not helpful. Since you cannot change your situation at this moment, the only thing you can change is the way you view it. If you can muster this positive attitude, other people around you will respond in kind and will be more likely to get out of their way to help you.” I am still saying this in one form or other but what made it convincing was that my words came true. Nurses and other professionals were indeed drawn to her because of her positive attitude despite adversity.
I also try to lead by example. It is always easy dishing out advice and then doing something different when the shoe is on the other foot. I recently sprained my wrist, and when I taught a MELT class, I proclaimed that this would be an opportunity to demonstrate modifications because of an injury.
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