Have you found yourself saying, “I am so tired, there is no way I can make it through this day”?
Or maybe you say, “This is going to be the worst day!”
If so, welcome to the club.
In my practice and elsewhere in my life I often hear people saying statements like this.
Until very recently my response was “Ugh, that stinks,” or “Yeah, just do your best.”
My responses kept me in the muck with them, agreeing that things would turn out badly.
However, I recently changed my tune.
If I hear someone predict a negative outcome for their day I ask them to change their words and try the opposite.
I came to this because finally something I have heard a million times and even write about in my upcoming book resonated with me:
“Self talk is self hypnosis.”
Or as Groucho Marx said, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”
What we say to ourselves, we believe.
This means that when we say we are going to have a terrible day, we end up running late and getting in a fight with our partner.
When we say we will be so tired all day, we find ourselves dozing off in a meeting.
Why is this? Because when we predict something about our future, we are setting ourselves up to experience the day from this lens.
Social psychologists call this the confirmation bias and hypnotherapists call it hypnotic suggestion.
I decided to test this hypothesis out the other evening.
I was going to a super fun concert with my partner and it was starting later than my usual bedtime so I found myself quite worried about my ability to stay awake.
Instead of worrying I told myself, “As each song changes over, you will feel more alert and connected to the music.”
I repeated this statement about seven times before the concert.
To my surprise while I was at the concert I noticed I felt wide awake.
I did not get tired.
I could not believe it was really working.
Even more surprisingly when we were taking the train home my husband turned to me and said, “Did you drink caffeine? You seem so alert and it is way past your bedtime.”
I hadn’t even told him about the little mind-game I had played with myself, but he could also sense my alertness.
I was so blown away by the power of self suggestion, but then I remembered all the times I had suggested I would be too tired, too scared, too overwhelmed, etcetera and felt exactly that way.
This is a new tool I am using whenever I want to change my default assumption about a situation.
What might you try it with?