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Changing Inner Dialogue
by Melissa Tiers, DCH, DAH


In my experience helping people to overcome fears, I have noticed that whether we are addressing a specific or generalized anxiety, internal dialogue is either the trigger or what keeps the pattern going. There’s many ways to manipulate and change the effect of internal dialogue and I’d like to share a few here.

This first process is simple, yet can have a profound effect on anxiety. It’s a part of, what I call, my anti-anxiety toolkit that I share with my clients. This technique is a simple way to learn to expand your visual field to neutralize fear and stop internal dialogue. It’s powerful in its ability to access the parasympathetic system and create a more relaxed alpha brain wave state. Start by staring at a focal point. Slowly begin to expand your peripheral vision to include all the space around that point. Now further to the sides, all the way up to the ceiling, down to the floor, allowing your visual field to open so that you can imagine becoming aware of the space behind you. Then bring your vision into focus again. This might feel strange at first but after practicing three or four times you will notice a general calm come over your mind and body as you realize your internal dialogue has stopped.

A different approach is to work with the negative self-talk. As soon as you start feeling anxious, notice what you are saying to yourself. I guarantee it’s not helpful and supportive. We are very good at feeding into our anxiety by talking to ourselves in a really negative way. The good thing about realizing this is you become more aware of all the things you would rather be hearing. Notice what happens when you take a negative statement you tell yourself and start to manipulate it. Hear it in your mind the way it normally is. Now change the tempo, the tonality or even the voice you hear it in. My favorite is Minnie Mouse. When you hear Minnie tell you, “you’re not good enough” or “you’re just like your father” in that high pitch squeal, it just doesn’t have the same effect. Hear that negative self-talk in the voice of someone you would never take seriously. Maybe some idiot whose opinions you find laughable. For me it’s a former president. I had a client who would replay in her mind a phrase her first boyfriend told her. I asked her if now, as a grown woman, she would ever take to heart the words of a 16-year-old boy? As she laughed, the negative belief she had just seemed to evaporate. Hear that negative self-talk and notice what direction it’s coming from and switch it to the opposite side. Notice what happens when you take that statement and imagine it coming from the floor, the radio or any other external place. Imagine a volume control and turn it down.

Play with it. Take control. You’ll realize you have far more power over your inner states than you imagine.



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About the Author

Melissa Tiers, DCH, DAH, is the founder of The Center for Integrative Hypnosis with a private practice in New York City. She teaches classes in Integrative Hypnosis, In-Depth NLP, Energy Psychology and Mental Health Coaching. Melissa is a published author and an adjunct faculty member of The Open Center, The Tri-State College of Acupuncture and The Nursing Continuum at Beth Israel School of Nursing. Melissa is the recipient of the 2011 IMDHA Pen and Quill Award for her book, Integrative Hypnosis: A Comprehensive Course in Change. Learn more about Melissa at www.melissatiers.com.




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