Self-talking & thought: Surfing reduces stress

Learn how to manage stress through positive self-talk and thought-surfing.

The holidays for many means that personal stress levels will be on the rise. Most personal stress doesn’t come from outside sources. Most stress comes from how we interpret, internalize or view situations. One practice that can help keep stress at bay is to identify your self-talk. Self-talk is often so habitual that people are unaware that they are doing it at all. If you are going to manage your stress, you need to be aware of these thoughts as they happen. Take some time to notice the things you say to yourself during your day.

 Assess your self-talk. Is it negative or positive? If it is negative, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there any evidence for this thought?
  • Is there any evidence against it?
  •  Is this the way I would talk to a friend who was in my position?
  • Are there any more positive ways of viewing this situation?
  • Am I keeping things in perspective?
  • Even if there is some validity to this thought, is it useful spending your energy thinking about it?

Changing your negative self-talk is no easy task. One way to start practicing is to start being more “mindful” of your thought patterns. This one strategy of paying attention and accepting the present moment is called thought surfing. Thought surfing is just noticing the range and intensity emotions/feelings/urges have on your body and accepting them for what they are without any judgement. This practice allows us to channel our emotions to peak and pass, to move like waves, ebbing and flowing without judgment. Keep in mind that most of the time, our thoughts make up the worst case scenarios that usually never come to fruition.

Giving yourself time to feel that emotion or thought run through your body without interrupting it with judgement or negative self-talk is all that is needed.

Keep your stress at bay this season and into the new-year with thought surfing and positive self-talk. Michigan State University Extension offers stress management community- based programs entitled Stress Less with Mindfulness and RELAX: Alternatives to Anger that are available thought out the state. Check their website to locate where programs are being offered though out the state. 

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