By Dick O'Brien, M.A.Sc. (speaker at networking meetings, Happen Inc. Canada).

It sometimes appears to me that many people have lost the old fashion skill of having a good talk with themselves. This is the capacity to step outside of a situation and tap into your reserves of wisdom to counsel yourself in a difficult moment. In this moment we often look at what is the worst that can happen, what is the best that can happen and what do I need to do right now.

Individuals who possess this capacity for self counsel can use it to guide them through the everyday inevitable challenges of life.  It creates perspective, lowers stress and increases the likelihood of more effective choices.

There are serious problems of course in which our own self counsel is inadequate and we will require the services of  professional to guide us through a difficult situation.

Here are ten capacities I tend to see in people who poses this ability to counsel themselves in difficult times.

1          Stillness – They come to a complete stop, first. Self counsel requires a complete stop or it is not self counsel – it is something else.

You need to make an appointment with yourself and know that this is deep reflection time.

This can be in the middle of the day or during an incident.

2          Reflection – This is the capacity to see yourself from an observers position.  Some people go to their sacred place and they know in advance that they will have direction when they leave.

3          Encouragement – This is the tendency to be self encouraging.  It is the art of giving yourself a boost and using a  positive and inspirational internal conversation.  It is most important here to beware of your internal vocabulary.

Your particular choice of words to describe a situation determines the reality that you see and act on in that situation. Ensure that your choice of words to describe yourself or the situation is encouraging, affirming and hopeful

4          Focus – What you focus on is what you get. Self counsel is not an issue of past or future but of right now. It is important to bring your focus into the present moment and reflect on what you can do right now to make the situation better.

5          Life Anchors – This can be anything a prayer, a picture, a card or quote. It is bigger than the moment you are going through and it reminds you that you will get though this.  Life anchors hold you strong in difficult moments.

6          Surrender – sometimes we just have to accept situation for what it is. It is merely realizing areas that you have no access or influences and choosing to move on rather than get caught up in an unending spiral of hopelessness and frustration.

7          The right questions- Too often we ask external based questions that have no answer and only frustrate us in difficult moments. I think the very best question you can ask yourself here is “What Part Do I play in this?”

8          Debriefing – It is very important to learn from our failures and move on with the new information. The Debriefing - What was I thinking, What did I do?  What will I do differently the next time?

9          Scan – This is the simple act of noticing tension in the body and releasing the thoughts that are causing it.

10         Finally – Know when self counsel is not working and seek the help of a professional person.

About the author: 

R D O'Brien, M.A.Sc.

Dick O'Brien is a therapist, consultant and professional speaker.  He has a Masters degree in counselling from the University of Waterloo and is President of Work-Place Wellness.  He is a regular presenter in the field of wellness and stress management for corporations, government agencies and police de

Voice:  (905) 309-5035

Fax:  (905) 309-5049

Website : www.theresilientjourney.com

E-mail:  dickobrien@cogeco.ca