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Q & A with Dr. B. – Would you provide examples of what you mean by empowered versus disempowered self-talk?

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this website, my book, and the Community Education course I teach at the College of Marin, is to teach people how to live a vibrant, meaningful life through the cultivation of self-empowerment and self-efficacy. In this monthly Q&A column, I post questions from students and from people who attend my presentations along with my answers.

Here is this month’s question:

QUESTION: Would you provide examples of what you mean by empowered versus disempowered self-talk?

ANSWER: Examples of disempowered versus self-empowered self-talk:

  • Disempowered and unkind: I should eat healthier food. Self-empowered and loving: I want to feed myself nutritious meals.
  • Disempowered and unkind: I should get more exercise. Self-empowered and loving: I want to take myself for nice exercise walks.
  • Disempowered and unkind: I should get out more. Self-empowered and loving: I want to take myself to visit friends.
  • Disempowered and unkind: I should get more sleep. Self-empowered and loving: I want to give myself enough sleep each night.
  • Disempowered and unkind: I have to fall back to sleep right away. Self-empowered and loving: I have no responsibilities and no place to go in this moment. I feel so cozy in my bed.
  • Disempowered and unkind: I am …(Fill in your favorite self-deprecating thought.). Self-empowered and loving: I’m fine just the way I am.

You can practice these skills by applying loving, self-empowering language throughout all your daily activities. Benefits will include improved motivation to practice optimal self-care as well as reduced stress and a greater sense of wellbeing.

Whenever you are too stressed or upset to practice healthier language, calm your brain with focused, diaphragmatic breathing.

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