July 18, 2024


Relaxing California beach.    bwb-images
Relaxing California beach. bwb-images

Coping with Travel Stress – Discover Your Internal Dialog

In previous articles we have covered a variety of topics related to stress management including Acceptance, Awareness, Sources of stress.  Now it’s time to move on to a very critical process in stress management – Discovering Your Internal Dialog.

A person’s mind is a wonderful and complex thing.  Our understanding of the human mind is only in it’s infancy.  We don’t really understand how it works.  But we know one thing for sure – it works.  Boy does it work.  The mind is always “on” in one form or another. Always thinking, processing, planning, considering.  The mind never seems to be at rest.  Even during sleep it is involved with dreams.

There are times when we take charge of our mind and direct the focus of it’s attention and thought.  We might actively “listen” to a speaker.  We might “work on solving a math problem”.  These are times when we are directing our thoughts and we are aware of our thinking.

At other times, when we are not actively directing our thoughts, our mind is still working – still thinking, still processing.  It’s like we are talking to ourselves.  We are having a type of Internal Dialog. This type of thought happens more “in the background” – perhaps while we are doing something else – like eating a sandwich or mowing the grass.  When engaged in tasks which don’t require a lot of attention and focus our mind has a bit of extra “processing power” which we aren’t actively using.  That’s when our thoughts frequently find their own direction.  Our mind “wanders” or we “daydream.” That’s when there is a lot of internal dialog. Sometimes we are aware of this internal dialog ,but frequently  we are not.

What do I mean about “internal dialog?”  Well, for simple example consider a person who puts material into their briefcase in the morning before  heading out to work.  On arrival at their office they then discover that they have forgotten to put an important set of papers into the briefcase.  Upset with themselves, they might engage in an internal dialog such as, “I’m so stupid, I’m always forgetting things.”  Or consider a traveler who  has just missed a connecting flight, is very upset, and who mumbles to them self, “This airline can’t do anything right. I’ll never fly with them again.”

In future articles we’ll be talking about why this internal dialog is important and how you can use it to cope with stress.  Learning to cope with and manage stress more effectively requires becoming more AWARE of your INTERNAL DIALOG.  (Yes, as you will see, these processes and concepts are inter-related and work together)  Internal dialog can be a great tool for stress management. Before you can use it, you have to be aware of it.  So your task at the moment is to start paying a bit more attention to that talk that is going on in your head. What are you saying to yourself?

Listening to the voice in your head ……………  Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B,The Photo Trekker