Lesson 8: Self Talk and Mantras

Lesson 8: Self Talk and Mantras

I just read an article about how we record memories in stressful times in more detail, so when we remember we perceive the extra details as meaning things took longer. In other words, it is only Wednesday and yet it feels like a hundred years from yesterday.


There is a lot of research out in the world about the power of mantas and self talk. Mostly this, how you talk to yourself really matters. So if we walk around saying stuff like, “I can’t do this” or “This is too hard for me” then it, in fact, becomes too hard for you. Today’s lesson (And future daily practice) is going to be about writing some mantras and choosing to use them across the day. This is an all ages lesson, in fact you and any other adults in the household probably need it too.

The set-up involves you, your child/ren, a marker and some paper. Draw a line down the middle. On one side write “Not helpful” on the other write “helpful”. You can enlist your child to do the writing, remember to avoid giving them each letter and instead ask them to use the sounds they hear.

Then, ask your child: “What are things you could say to help a friend through a hard time?” Write, or have your child write, the sentences and phrases they come up with, for example: “You can do it!”, “Try again”, etc. You might have your child draw a picture by each one. Quantity doesn’t really matter here. Place any that come up as not helpful on the other side. Here are some from our book, Mindset for Learning:

  • I have done it before, I can do it again!
  • I can try, the worst I can do is fail!
  • I can try, let’s see what happens!
  • I know the steps to start, let me say them again
  • I can use tools in the classroom, let me look at them to get started
  • I am getting frustrated, but if I try again maybe I will get it
  • I have gotten over tough spots before, I just need to stick with it a little longer
  • I know the steps, let me do them one more time more slowly

Choose one to help you through the day. Help your child choose one to get through the day. They can write in on an index card to keep in their pocket. You can write one and keep it in your pocket. You can make this part of your morning check in every day. What do you need to tell yourself to make today a good day?

For me, today is, “Bird by Bird” which I learned about from Amy Poehler and is the title of Anne Lamont’s beautiful book. Essentially it means, take each thing as it comes, get one done and go to the next one. So here we go folks, bird by bird, see you on the other side of this.


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