Do you speak harshly, frequently telling yourself how you aren’t good enough or smart enough or don’t have enough motivation or will power?
Or do you speak more gently – perhaps the way you speak with people you care about?
And why is this important?
I have written before about our autonomic nervous system. The functioning of the autonomic nervous system can be understood as the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is more commonly referred to as our fight or flight response and the parasympathetic nervous system as our rest and digest response.
Another way of thinking about the relationship between sympathetic and parasympathetic functioning is to consider the sympathetic nervous system as the body’s accelerator and the parasympathetic nervous system as its brake (Porges 2004).
Too much activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response, can result in the excessive release of cortisol. Cortisol can adversely affect physical and emotional health in many ways including a reduction in muscle mass, increased bone loss and osteoporosis, interference with the generation of new skin cells, an increase in fat accumulation around the waist and hips, and reduced memory and learning abilities (Church 2009).
One of the ways many of us trigger the sympathetic response and the related increase to cortisol is through our harsh self-talk.
The way we speak to ourselves is typically habitual and relates to the attitudes and beliefs we hold – often at an unconscious level.
Clinical Hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Technique are powerful modalities for supporting people to develop self-nurturing self-talk and beliefs which contribute to healthier and more satisfying life experiences.
If you are interested in learning more please contact
Church, D. (2009). The genie in your genes: Epigenetic medicine and the new biology of intention. Santa Rosa, CA: Energy Psychology Press.
Porges, S.W. (2004, May) Neuroception: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety. Zero to Three, p.19-24.