Calm in the midst of a storm

August 10, 2017


Katie is a HR strategist, traveller and life-learner out to push her limits and see what the world has to offer. She is also cooking up a big project that I cannot wait to share!


Katie’s story: Every day I used to step out of bed and feel as though life took over like a tornado- creating chaos in my mind, body, and actions. Amidst this external chaos was the voice in my head- my “private voice” which only I can hear, but which was usually on an endless rampage of filling my mind with words and feelings of self-doubt, fear, stress, and survival instincts. One day I started actively listening to this voice and processing what it was saying. Let’s just say that I was shocked at what I heard. I would never speak to anyone else that way, so why would I talk to myself like that? It wasn’t until I re-directed my “private voice” that I was able to achieve the level of effectiveness, fulfillment, and peace that I have today. Who thought that being nice to yourself could make such a difference!



  1. Become aware of your “private voice”

  2. Pay attention to what it is saying

  3. Prove it wrong

  4. Start exerting control over your “private voice” — focus on a shift from dysfunctional and negative to constructive, developmental, and positive

  5. Remember- you rock! Your “private voice” is the only thing that will be with you forever- make sure it’s one you want to be listening to


Raphael’s POV: Katie’s story is no surprise to anyone — we all have voices in our head that seems to always pinpoint the negative, doubts, stress and fears. This is called the negative bias which speaks to our brain’s tendency to respond more heavily to negative stimuli. A study was conducted where people were presented positive, neutral and negative images and the electrical activity in the brain’s cerebral cortex was captured to reflect the magnitude of activity taking place. As you can imagine, the brain reacted more strongly to the negative stimuli compared to the others. This is likely wired in our evolution where we survived based on sensing out negative events (i.e., predators).


As Katie mentioned in #2, paying close attention to the “voice” is a simple hack most call “labelling your emotions” or “affect labelling.” This hack is built on a simple premise. When our voices get out of control, it is likely being “emotional” which means an amygdala hijack is taking place (fancy way of saying our brain has a tendency to respond emotionally before logically and critically). As such, by labelling our emotions, we are triggering activity in our more logical and critical manner. Often when we start thinking critically we realize that the voice in our head makes no sense. Be aware and take control of your thoughts.


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