Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back to Basics3 — Negative Self-Talk is a Habit, not a Neurosis

 If you're reading this blog, I want you to know you're trendy! Glamour magazine March, 2011 has an article about negative self-talk specifically related to body image* with self-help suggestions and O had one in December 2010 by Catherine Price. To me, both articles support my belief that NST is normal, average, everyday thinking for the majority of women younger than 60! This is not good, even though it means the women are probably not neurotic or psychotic! Therapists are useful, valuable, helpful people, but girls and women who have the NST habit don't necessarily need one, just as they don't need a therapist to help them break the couch potato habit, or the chewing fingernails habit or the non-assertiveness habit.

* "In a recent GLAMOUR magazine survey, 97% of young women will have on average 13 brutal thoughts about their bodies today."

The title of my new book-to-be is Handbook #1 for Intelligent Women: Break the Negative Self-Talk Habit, rather than Cure the Negative Self-talk Neurosis, for a reason.  Self-talk, NST or PST, is learned behavior. Normal, average, negative self-talk is no more a neurosis than positive self-talk — unless it grows into an obsession or a delusion, which is not the average outcome for self-talkers of any kind. The book is focused on everyday intelligent negative self-talkers, not those at the tail end of the bell-shaped curve.

If you label your thinking behavior as neurotic, there’s a tendency to feel screwed up, a loser who needs a lot of therapy. If you think instead that NST is a habit that you'd like to get rid of like any other habit such as biting your fingernails, eating ice cream every night, or tweeting 24 times a day, you might not feel bad about yourself. You might make a plan and take action, which would help you to feel even better.

The change in perspective is good practice in reframing, a technique of cognitive restructuring — looking at the same picture/facts/ information with a different frame attached to it. Changing the frame, changes the perception. It's neither negative or positive. It's realistic.
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