How Do You Talk To Yourself?

I think the most common sentence I’ve said to myself over the course of my life has been “You stupid f***!”

Not exactly a shining example of helpful self-talk.

I was taken aback in my first Alexander Technique lesson when I learned how much I’d have to talk to myself to make things work. The messages your mind sends to your body have a profound effect on how you sit, stand, walk and talk.

In my Alexander training, I learned primarily to send myself positive messages such as “Let my neck be free so that my head can release forward and up and my back can lengthen to widen.”

Now I’m listening to a podcast by Robert Rickover on the power of negative directions. Say to yourself, “I’m not tightening myself” or “I’m not compressing my back” or some such.

Robert: “How a direction is delivered is at least as important as [the direction itself]. You want to be able to say this to yourself in a way that has no demands upon it. It is lightly delivered, softly delivered.”

“The lighter the intent, the more powerful the direction.”

“It should be taken for granted that you will forget the direction, almost right away. Don’t say to yourself, I failed at this task. Just bring your attention back.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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