Outdoor Diary: Here’s the Outdoor Self-Talk that Works for Me

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Humans Outside outdoor diary episode 305

Most of the time, it’s a little in my head that tells me I can do things or narrates when they feel like they are about to go very wrong. Sometimes it’s more like a movie — a dramatic demonstration of the terrible thing that’s about to happen, or a picture of the upcoming victory. According to our recent podcast guest Sarah Histand, a mental health-informed fitness trainer all of it is self-talk.

Over my days building my outdoor habit, I’ve learned to make self talk work for me with a few phrases, or mantras, I can repeat over and over.

But there’s still one major thing I struggle with.

And leaning into this negative self-talk? It produces that kind of silly outdoor fail that seems to be my personal speciality.

Listen now.

Some of the good stuff:

[:30] A little bit of background on self-talk

[1:10] The times I don’t get it right

[1:35] My biggest outdoor problem

[2:00] What I do about it

[2:37] My reminder self-talk

[3:44] Using it for your indoor life

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

If you caught the recent episode with Sarah Histand on outdoor self-talk, you heard all about the whats, whys and hows of teaching yourself to have positive self talk doing scary things.

Sarah is a mental health-focused fitness trainer, and we’ve done three episodes that touch on themes of learning to listen to yourself when outside doing things that feel big to you. Note I say “FEEL big to you” because what’s a stretch for you and what’s a stretch for me might be two different things. So it’s all about what FEELS big.

Anyway, having positive self talk – what you say to yourself when you’re having a hard time or doing something challenging – is all about having enough self awareness to know what’s going on in your head and how it impacts what’s going on in your body.

In my experience the two things are completely connected, and there are many, many times I dont get it right. Having bad self talk and the negative attitude that follows can be a function of a variety of things, including my nervous system feeling off as I take on something that is a big challenge and feels a little scary.

But for me, more often than anything else, it’s caused by one simple problem: I’m hungry.

Now, the first thing you have to know about me doing outside stuff is that I’m a hoarder. I have what’s called a “scarcity” mentality, that there won’t be enough of whatever it is and that I have to save it for later. Sometimes that means I don’t want to eat the snack I packed too soon because when I’m hungry again later I won’t have it, and then what? Sometimes it looks like I dont want to put on a layer of clothes when Im cold because hello what if I get more cold later and wish I could put it on then?

I didn’t say it makes sense. I just said I do it.

This hoarding and scarcity are rarely a function of reality. They’re me reacting to a challenge in a negative way.

Part of the way I’ve been trying to work through this with myself is teaching myself to notice when I’m acting out of scarcity — if I’m hungry and not eating, why? If I’m cold and not getting warm, why? And then talking myself through using the tools I have like eating something or putting on a long sleeve shirt by positive self talk or a mantra. What I use in this situation is this:

“I live in abundance. I have everything I need.”

It’s not something I repeat over and over again like other self talk. It’s more like a reminder. I live in abundance. I have everything I need. So I can eat this snack now. I live in abundance. I have everything I need. So I can put on this jacket.

On a recent run my scarcity mindset kept me from even packing enough food. It wasnt that I was holding onto what I had. No no, it was much worse. I simply didnt have it. My friend came in for the win by giving me extra she had. Thanks for that, Rachel.

I have an emotional tell when I’m hoarding, and it’s that I get extremely grumpy. It’s like those Snicker commercials with Betty White or Joe Pesci where the person is acting cranky or weird and their friend is like yo, eat a snickers, and they’re back to normal. That’s exactly me. And it’s probably you too by the way, so maybe think about that and go eat a healthy snack right now.

Anyway. My best friend knows this, and so when i get quiet and negative, hello we know the solution. But when it comes to self talk and self awareness, when I’m working on is teaching myself to catch this problem before it happens and use what I have to fix it before I’m being a little crazy.

The great thing about self talk is that while we might be more aware of our need for it during our outdoor life thanks to having other distractions striped away, it works flawlessly inside too. Since quitting my job recently I’ve had a week where it just feels like chaos. I should be leaning into a vacation schedule and instead I feel like I have a thousand freelance project deadlines hanging over my head with no plan for tackling them.

I live in abundance, I have everything I need.

You can see photos of all of my outdoor adventures — some times that I did a good job on the scarcity mindset thing and some times that I didnt — on humans outside on Facebook and Instagram. Share your photos too with #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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