Our self talk influences the way we respond to everyday situations. Our thoughts govern how we perceive what is happening around us. Believe it or not we can improve our health simply by changing our self talk. Are your thoughts accusing you by reminding you of past mistakes? An old Plant City woman I know often shakes her head and yells, “Get off my back devil! I ain’t gonna carry you today!” The first step to changing self talk is refusing to allow negative thoughts to dominate your mind. If you are about to enter a situation that intimidates you and your mind is negative, you may have already defeated yourself. Taking control of thought patterns is more than a self pep talk. It is making choices in advance about how to think, react and speak. Chose to reject the bad and see it through a new perspective. For example, did you get cut off in traffic? The fact that you were cut off actually has nothing to do with you. It is a revelation about the other driver. There is no need or requirement for you to respond. Instead of raising your blood pressure and screaming, accept that person is rude and a lousy driver. Keep driving, let it go and move on! Did a project you were working on go south because a co-worker fouled up their part? Understand this is something that was not under your control. Choose not to allow anger to control you. The best choice is to salvage what is left. Lashing out in anger to punish the co-worker, raises your blood pressure, releases cortisol and the words you use could permanently damage your professional relationship beyond repair. Choose to not be angry, better yet, make the choice to repair what you can even if that means making the apologies for what you did not do, just to keep the good standing in your professional relationships. That may require you to suppress the desire to prove that you are in the right and not at fault. Sometimes the greater good is in the future and not in the moment. Did a relative or frEnemy, just pull the rug out from beneath you? Reject the insult and refuse to be pulled into the drama, by not reacting to it. Their actions reveal who they are and have nothing to do with you. Choose to not react. However make the choice to release yourself from the situation and let it go. Forgive them. Forgive them a hundred times a day if needed. Just make sure that you forgive them so that a part of you does not remain in that moment. Rise above it. It is ok to remove yourself from toxic relationships and put up boundaries where you need them. If you keep your thoughts and mind positive you will react in a positive way to negative situations. At first you may have to hit the pause button before you react. That is a good thing. When you choose to choose how you will respond, you will be healthier in mind, body and relationships.