As a single father raising 9 children, and as a Certified Life & Business Coach and a Certified Self-Talk Trainer, it has become apparent in my work that the way children talk to themselves has a profound effect on how they function, achieve and get along in life.
I’d first like to explain the way our brains work from the time we’re born. At that time, our brains are a clean slate, like a white piece of paper. As we grow and experience our world around us our brain gets programmed with everything happening around us. The statements we hear, and more specifically the statements that are said to us directly begin to form pathways in our brain. Our thinking, self esteem and actions develop out of these pathways. If we have good programming, our life will be productive and happy. If we have bad programming the opposite will result. Every thought we think rewires our brain.
Our brains are like computers. Everything we put into them, our “mental computers,” it does. When you type into a computer it’s going to give you back what you type in. The same is true with our brains. It doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. It can’t tell the difference between good programming and bad programming. It simply acts on what it is given.
What we’ve learned is that everything we’re told about ourselves from day one gets programmed into our mental computers and acted on as though it’s true—even when it’s not. We all get programmed with beliefs about ourselves over time that may or may not be true. We’re told early in our lives, what we can and can’t do—and our own mental programs pick up on that and determine what we think we’re able to do later in our lives—or not. The same goes for our children.
That’s one reason that I recommend to my clients and practice with my own children to screen and be aware of what they are watching on TV, the music they listen to and most importantly the social media sites and apps they are using. So much of today’s programming is of a negative nature. When TV watching occurs several hours per day it’s negative programming that’s making pathways in our children’s brains – and our own brains as well. Even when you keep the TV or radio on as “background noise,” you’re programming the brains of every person in the house because, remember, the brain just acts on what it’s given. Now, with the new attention given to the internet, smart phones and their apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Kik, and the multitude of others, it is vitally important to pay attention to what your kids are doing on these apps and sites. You’ll be very surprised what they are doing.
The pathways described above are like highways in the brain. Researchers are now able to measure this via computer software where they can actually see the highways being formed as new statements are listened to. In the process of listening to new programs, the old ones don’t go away. The brain just uses the ones that have the deeper highways.
The most effective way to change the programming process and its effects is by listening to professionally recorded self talk on tape or CD. Researchers used to think that simply reading the statements as affirmations was the best way to change our programs. What they discovered is that we never get rid of our old programs. They have to be replaced. And since the old ones were first put there by being heard, the most effective way for them to be replaced is for you to hear the new ones repeatedly.
This changes old programs faster than any other method, including reading, writing, or repeating affirmations. Listening quietly in the background as you are doing something else is the most effective. There’s no need to focus specifically on what’s being said. Your mind hears it whether or not you focus on the words. It’s very much like learning a new language. The easiest way to learn it is to be submerged in it. That’s what I’m talking about here.
It is the repetition of specifically worded Self-Talk by listening that forms actual new physical program pathways in the brain. Once these new pathways become strong enough, they become permanent, and so do the new attitudes, habits and actions the new Self-Talk creates.
Self-Talk has been used by literally hundreds of thousands of individuals for over 40 years. Self-Talk is endorsed and used by medical doctors, teachers, counselors and therapists, motivational trainers, church organizations, parents, business managers, students, and men and women from every walk of life.
I’d like to relate a personal story about my own personal use of self talk CDs. Back in late 2004 my wife Joanne was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Nine months later she passed away. When she first got sick, I had been listening to self talk CDs several times a day for over a year. As a result, I had support for when I had negative thoughts. After she died I paid extra close attention to my self talk because I knew that my thoughts were going to make me or break me in this situation.
Today I can say that I believe that this was one of the major things that helped me through the years since then. Now I have to say that I did grieve heavily and did have some tough times. I cried every day for a year and I often screamed at God for taking away the love of my life and the mother of my children. I’ve also gone through intense therapy as did three of my children. So I’m not saying that some self talk CDs made everything “perfect” but I am saying that they kept my attitude hopeful. And a hopeful attitude is very helpful during crisis.
I also began playing self talk CDs for my children at night before bed. These are specially recorded just for children. I set up a CD player in the hallway outside their rooms and played it every night as they fall asleep, and still do. Research has shown that the first 30 minutes after you wake and the last 30 minutes before you fall asleep are your brain’s most impressionable times.
I also have 2 children who are in special education and one other who’s borderline and I believe that the self talk they listen to has had a profound effect on their performance and improvement in their classes. I notice a different attitude in them with their school work, as well as how they relate to their siblings and friends. It’s simply amazing.
The use of self talk is not a new concept. Some of the great leaders in the personal development industry have been researching and presenting ideas on self talk for close to 50 years. Leaders like Dr. Shad Helmstetter, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Dr. Denis Waitley, Og Mandino, Earl Nightingale, Dr. David Schwartz, Zig Ziglar, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones and Jim Rohn. Even many newer trainers are teaching these same techniques.
Here are some suggestions on how to get the most from self talk:
1. Self talk works best when played quietly, in the background. There’s no need to concentrate or focus on the self talk you’re listening to. Just let it play quietly in the background as you go about your daily life.
2. There’s no need to “over listen”. Just three times each day works best.
3. Many people have someone in their home who may be negative or have low self-esteem and is being held back by negative programs. Don’t try to convince that person to listen to self talk. Just play it like you would for yourself – don’t make an issue of it. The messages, in time, will get through. Many people have benefited and changed for the positive because someone else who cared played self talk in the background.
4. The best times to listen to self talk:
When you’re getting ready in the morning
When you’re riding in your car
While you’re exercising
While you’re eating, relaxing, reading the paper or even watching TV
Just before you go to sleep at night
There is no schedule recommended for kids or teens
If you’d like to explore more about the different kinds of self talk and their uses, please call me at 609-367-4799, email me at email@example.com.