The Adventures of My own Self-talk
Many mornings I arise well before the crack of dawn to go for a run with Zeus, my part Dachshund part something friend who cannot wait to get out there and see what the morning brings. He seems to be telling himself what a pleasant experience it is to be moving, smelling the morning scents, and seeing the morning sights. He even has what appears to be a smile as he runs. I am a different story however. I am not smiling as I lumber down the darkened road and I am not telling myself how wonderful this experience is and in fact doing the opposite. I often tell myself how hard it is, how I do not like it, and question my own sanity for doing such a thing. I many times get mad at drivers on the road at this early hour (4 am) because they do not move to the left when we are in the bike lane. I usually encounter 5-8 drivers (I know) in the 30 minutes I’m out there. After a few minutes I am obviously not enjoying the run and I can even feel my muscles tighten and running becomes harder. What makes this so crazy is that I study and teach self-talk, the impact of optimism on our health, and how the conversation we have with ourselves influences the way our muscles work and overall wellbeing.
Today was no different than many of the others. This didn’t feel great, that driver didn’t move to the left, why is Zeus so happy etc. I thought to myself why do you continue to converse with yourself in this manner when you know it impacts you negatively. As one driver passed within 20 feet of me, (they weren’t close at all) I glared at them and thought what a jerk. But then something came over me that I cannot explain. I actually thought about my role in the “issues” I have with the world and realized it was me with the problem (oh no I am responsible). I thought “wow, I have the ability to run on the sidewalk.” And as a car approached I ran on the sidewalk and everything turned out fine. I could run on the softer rubberized asphalt after they passed and I did. Then I began to tell myself how lucky I am to be running after being 125 lbs. overweight, a smoker, battling multiple addictions, suffering from foot and back problems, and being homeless. Soon my muscles began to move easier and more fluid. I suddenly begin telling myself that this is a great experience and I am enjoying this. What a great run! As I entered the sidewalk I looked at Zeus and we both were smiling and I told myself again how blessed I am. I hope that you know that you are too. Be careful with what you say to yourself. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!