Self-talk is Part of Engaging with Aging

Self-talk: chatting with oneself.  

My EWA self-talk originates with incoming messages on what is currently happening with: age related changes (ARCs) in my appearance, capacities and external assets, my moods, what’s going on  in my environment and with areas in daily living either affecting or being affected by the ARCs. It feels like a dialogue with my body parts (e.g. hands, feet, torso working-memory parts of my brain et al).

I find that I use this self-talk to tell me who I am for the day. Some days I’m perky and ready to go, but others start out low and slow, often with no discernable reason for either one. Beyond that I self-talk to work on EWA each day.  I

  1. survey myself and assign usable, neutral, active, sharp words to the incoming signals, physical, mental, emotional, values/beliefs, attitudes
  2. link that incoming information on available capacities and assets to impact areas for this day’s activities; or I may start with any unusual demands of the day and look to the resources they will need.
  3. develop plans/decisions for what might/can be done in both resources and requirements to balance them out
  4. notice what happens in carrying out the plan  (what works/needed revisions)                      

All this is done, not with gauzy impressions, but with words,

words as clear-cut, usable, neutral and action-oriented as I can make them. Not formal or fancy, but words that talk to me. (They can be changed as needed to talk with others.) E.g.

As I was managing daily living following a recent fall my:

right leg complains of the sharp pain (about 4 or 5 on10 point scale),on the backside of its knee,

 legs and feet grumble that walking is heavy-footed, steps stiff and much shorter,

balance yells it’s  feeling scarily-uncertain

 hands declare they’re gripping the handles on the walker harder than usual and  complain that body is leaning too heavily into them

shoulders say they’re hunching up unless told to lower them. Brain orders them down. . . several times

feet announce loudly where they are and where the toes are pointed

nose reports if it is pointing the same direction or not,

balance orders body to keep centering itself and thanks it for doing so

trunk leans firmly against stable surfaces when hands are busy doing things; balance says thanks

hands rest firmly on the edges of counters when feet are moving sidewise along them; balance thanks them too

one part of brain announces self-importantly that it’s thinking more often about keeping the walker and the cell phone within reach; another part of the brain retorts, “That’s better than you usually do!”

all parts of the body mumble about actions being slower and clumsier,

brain areas (feeling left out), protest to any body part that will listen, “We’ve been affected too so our thinking and planning also are slower and clumsier. Body parts snap back,” It’d be impossible not to be affected by your sluggishness!”

Put into printed words this sounds like a silly fantasy and perhaps it is. But basically and without words, it’s what I experienced.

You can have a bit of fun testing this approach for yourself by recalling a sharply-remembered incident and letting body parts “talk” to you, tell you in their own voices what they were doing, feeling. Use personal jargon to make them accurate and as alive as you can.

Recalling an event or EWA planning are two uses of self-talk that I’ve found helpful to “get the hang of it”. It’s also been an honest useful way to discover how my attitudes, values and beliefs are affecting what’s happening or being planned. It seems to work best when I think in terms of what actually ”is” and keep should in the background. (I try not to fool myself with “prettying it up”.) Besides, if I don’t like what I discover, I’m free to change myself, or not.

I’d be interested in feedback if any of you have been doing something similar or try it out.

5 thoughts on “Self-talk is Part of Engaging with Aging

  1. In the course I am taking on Aging and Spirituality we were talking about the importance of “hallowing our diminishments”. I still react to the word diminishments for some of the ARC are diminishments of previous functional levels but some of the ARC or disease related changes are much more significant to the individual than a diminishment. But the idea of hallowing the changes we encounter is a very intriguing and helpful approach. I find your journey in EWA to be a hallowing of the “diminishments” encountered with ARC. I thank you for continuing to be a mentor to me as I age. You are very special!!!

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  2. Pingback: Managing daily living with self-talk in old age — Write Into Life

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