Stories That We Tell Ourselves
How we speak to ourselves impacts every part of our day.
In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article that found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% were negative and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
When I think of the old me, I think that this statistics sums up exactly how I was feeling.
Most recently, I used a self-care tip as an example to ask caregivers what story in their head was around the word ‘exercise’. Did they automatically associate exercise with going to the gym or going for a run? How would they feel if they replaced the word ‘exercise’ with ‘moving their body’?
Does simply changing words change the story in their head?
This is a simple example that I like to use because it’s relatable to all.
Other examples for caregivers include:
advocacy - the story that we need to advocate, protest everything
education - the story that we need to educate everyone about the disease, rare disease, diagnosis that our loved one has/received
caregiver role - the story that everyone else has their shit together except you
Personally, the larger my bandwidth (ie. being well rested, having patience, feeling good) at the moment, the more positive my thoughts are; and conversely, the smaller my bandwidth, the more negative my thoughts are.
Thankfully, there is good news. We can slowly move the marker from mostly negative thoughts to fewer negative thoughts.
The goal is to take a few seconds throughout the day and check in with your thoughts. When I first started to do that I was surprised at how negative the stories in my head actually were.
I thought that I would never talk to anyone in the same manner in which I talked to myself. I decided that I had to start talking to myself in the same manner that I would talk to my best friend and loved ones.
This is simple a muscle that we need to build and strengthen.
I encourage you all to start checking in on your own thoughts. I see you. You are doing amazing work behind closed doors. Be kinder to yourself. You are worth it.