Written by David H. Rosmarin

We may not admit it readily (at least not in public), but everyone does it. In fact, I speculate that it is impossible not to! I’m speaking about, well … speaking to oneself – i.e., having a conversation with no one else but your lonesome self. If you think I’m crazy then let me help you out by referring to this age-old human activity as “chatter in your head” or “self-praise” or “self-criticism,” since surely those terms/phrases more familiar! Well, guess what? They refer to different ways in which we converse with ourselves.

Here’s the confusing part, and perhaps why many people embarrassed to speak about this topic: If there is only one of me, then who am I speaking to when I talk to myself? And if I can’t figure that out, then what is the point of conversing with myself? Why on earth would I do such a thing???

Well, one way to think about it, based on ancient Jewish spiritual wisdom, is that human beings are a compilation of different parts. We are comprised of a body and a soul – and those two entities, each with separate likes, dislikes, wants, drives, values, and visions, can either be connected or disconnected. That is, they can either get along with each other and ultimately provide to and receive from each other in a loving, caring and peaceful way (i.e., be connected), or they can live independently and estranged from one another, with tension, stress and pain (i.e., be disconnected)

Here is an example of a body-soul conversation that is disconnected:
Soul: Why did you do that?
Body: Because I was hungry.
Soul: But we were supposed to save that pizza for Martha!
Body: I don’t care about Martha. I didn’t eat lunch and I was hungry!
Soul: I just don’t understand you sometimes!

Needless to say, something isn’t going well in the above picture. Aside from poor Martha who is going to need to get dinner elsewhere, the body and soul in the above scenario aren’t getting along with each other.

Here’s the conversation again, but in a more connected manner:
Soul: Why did you do that?
Body: Because I was hungry.
Soul: I thought we had planned to save that pizza for Martha.
Body: I know. It was a bad decision. I’m sorry.
Soul: No, it’s not your fault. You skipped lunch and I should have encouraged you to get dinner elsewhere.
Body: What can we do now?
Soul: Let’s order Martha another pizza. Something she’ll really enjoy!
Body: That’s a great idea. I’m on it!

Lately, I’ve been encouraging many of my patients to articulate at least one body-soul conversation out loud each day, for no less than 3-volleys (i.e., at least three back-and-forth exchanges). Across the board, my patients have found this to be a strange exercise at first, but within 2-3 weeks most report an increased sense of internal connection and peace. Moreover, as one patient recently put it, “I’ve been conversing with myself anyway all my life, but now I’m aware of it and able to take the conversation in directions that are helpful to me.”

So, here is my challenge: Speak out loud to yourself once per day. Even 2 words! Try it for a month…

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The Center for Anxiety™ is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that is owned and operated by David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D. The Center provides consultation in psychological research by designing, implementing and examining results from research protocols to help facilitate evaluation of treatment outcomes, and training for mental health professionals in evidence-based treatments for anxiety symptoms. All clinical services described on this website are provided by NYC Psychology Inc., a Professional Corporation (PC) that is also owned and operated by David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D.; Usage & Privacy Policy