Lesson #8: How to STFU

by Rachel on June 15, 2010

I’m a talker. We know this. Officially, I’m a writer, but really, I’m a writer only because I’m a talker.

But sometimes I wear myself out.

And because lately I haven’t been able to shut off my brain, mouth, and computer, my go-to phrase has become…

I’m not sure how it really started. I just started saying it because it came in handy. I’d listen to a friend freak out about the logistics of a situation (“But what time will I pick you up then? But what if we can’t get in?”) or start over-analyzing a guy (“But why doesn’t he call me back? I mean I know he’s not cheating on me but why doesn’t he call me back, Rachel??”) and it was just an automatic reaction. I’d close my eyes and purse my lips, shake my head and put my finger to my mouth and and just gently say it.

Now, it’s definitely not a rude thing; it’s not shushing anyone. But you’re shushing the negative thoughts. You’re just dismissing the thoughts like a librarian dismisses a noisy child. And there’s something about it that’s actually really soothing. By having such a calm reaction, it sort of helps people realize when they are being ridiculous.

So then, unsurprisingly, I found myself just saying it to myself.

If, for example, at 8 AM, I am feeling anxious about how I am going to get everything done that day and still have time to wash my hair, and my mind is talking a mile a minute and I’m banging away on the keyboard with enough force to wake the dog…without even thinking about it, I just automatically say it. Out loud.

If I am trying to predict the future of a job, relationship, or anything else that cannot possibly be determined…

Try it sometime! People always say to take a deep breath, but sometimes stopping to let that breath out works just as well. It quiets all manners of self-doubt, ridiculousness, anxiety, and panic, whether in yourself or in someone else. I swear it feels really, really good…more soothing than a yoga class or any buttered carb!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sheena June 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I always say “focus!!” it usually gets friends or even myself to stop what we’re saying/doing/thinking and just focus for a second. It works!

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2 Rachel June 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Oh, Sheena, I really like that!!

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3 Manon June 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Oh Rachel….can you clone yourself and come to Iowa? I need a personal ‘shhhhhhh’er

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4 Sierra June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm

What a great post, I liked that you threw some humor in there, but the truth is we really can’t control situations, we can only just do our best to deal with them and calm our mind down. Thanks for the positive pep talk. :)

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5 Leah (Nutritionista) June 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I needed this today! DBR, Leah, DBR. I also made you something…http://twitgoo.com/zwtfs

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6 Elise June 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

This is rule/lesson number 7. I have been looking for all the other other rules but haven’t been able to figure out where they all are. Le sigh.

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7 Jaclyn June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I just had a conversation with my counselor about this very thing and she suggested making a guilt list, so that I can look at the things I’m worrying about or feeling guilty about and see how ridiculous some of them sound to me. I like the “shhhh” idea too. I’m going to try it this week!

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8 Trinidad Pena June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

OMG! I needed a good shush-ing earlier today. And I may need one later. It’s been that kinda day.

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9 Smash June 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I really enjoyed this posting. We ALL need to take note of this.

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10 Emily @ Relishments June 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I never realized how soothing telling myself to “shhh” could be! Thanks for the tip, Rachel…I definitely need to shut up more often.

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11 Anastasia June 16, 2010 at 9:24 am

I love this! I have been stressing at work lately, which makes my attitude come out.. I can hear myself being ridiculous (not in a good way) but it comes out before I can stop it. I will try to stop and “shhhh” my crazy ass before I act insane. Thanks!

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12 Linda Long October 13, 2010 at 10:41 am

So great, thanx so much!

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