Archives for May 2015

Shape Your Future With The Belief Of Fluency Being Achieved

For nearly every adult stutterer, there’s an aspect of the belief system that causes interruptions, and blockages affecting your speech pattern.

• You believe you are going to stutter, you stutter.

• You believe that if you do stutter, there’s going to be a consequence (feeling embarrassed etc).

• You believe that if you don’t find a stuttering cure, that somehow, your life will be worse

There are no miracle cures, but there is a path for everyone to travel in search of fluency.

What path are you taking right now, long or short?

You’re reading this, so you’re obviously aware that you have a stutter, or maybe one of your friends is feeling down about the cards they’ve been dealt in their life. Whatever the reason is that you’re here, it is part of a journey.

A learning journey one which the majority of people who stutter go through. It’s a path and it is different for each of us. For some it’s like climbing Mount Everest, for others it’s a short path.

The path to overcoming a stutter

Some people have a minor speech problem, for which just a couple of modifications to their speech can help them speak fluently. For others, the path is a much a longer journey.

For me, mine was a long journey. It took me until I was 22 to finally kick the emotional baggage to the kerb, push through, and discover what worked for me.

That experience throughout that journey has in many ways shaped my life for the better. I found methods that worked for me, and as such I shared them with fellow stutterers to feel the same sense of accomplishment I did and do.

There is no better feeling than when you’ve travelled your path and reached your final destination; the place in your life when you can speak openly about what’s on your mind, without the fear of speaking interrupting your thought process.

Along your journey to fluency, you are going to be reading much more information as you visit a number of websites, read research papers, and probably scientific studies along the way.

Stuttering has a lot of confusion surrounding it. For every one person who tells you the ultimate cure to stuttering, someone else will tell you it is trash.

I certainly do not claim to have a cure, but I do have methods to control the stutter, and it’s what continues to help my students around the world.

There is no cure for it so you cannot swallow a magic pill and be rid of the problem. The only medications you will find will be those designed to reduce your anxiety levels. They will not work to give you fluent speech. They’ll just reduce the anxiety you feel before you speak.

Depending on where you are in your journey, you may have already learned that lesson but there is a key message I want you to leave here and always remember.

How you think affects your speech

Negative thinking has severe consequences and it will affect the path you take to reach your destination of achieving fluency.

The more negative you feel about yourself, the longer your path will be.

If you think you can’t apply for a job because you fear stuttering will get in your way at the interview, you’ll stick yourself in a dead end job and be bitterly disappointed for the rest of your life.

If you perceive your stutter as a curse, it will be detrimental to your journey. You’ll avoid situations, you’ll experience high levels of anxiety and to some extent, a degree of social phobia can manifest.

However, by shaping your thinking, you can shape your future. See yourself at the end of your journey. Using positive affirmations, and positive visuals, such as imagining yourself standing in front of a crowd at your best friend’s wedding and delivering the ultimate speech that has the crowd laughing with you and not at you.

The power of your thinking can never be underestimated. When you think positive, you speak with a degree of confidence. It’s that confidence you need to display as you travel your path to fluency. Believe you can and you will. Believe you can’t and you will never be able to deal with it.

Setbacks will happen along your journey and when they do, see it for it is; a setback, a minor one and part of your journey.

There are likely to be times you feel you’ve achieved fluency, and something will cause it to come back again. That will raise doubt in your mind that you’ve perhaps done something wrong and developed a false sense of security.

Just remember the very first time you can speak comfortably without stuttering, you have reached your destination. When you do, remember the path you took to get there, because if a relapse happens, you’ll have the life experience of already travelled that path and reached your destination.

That way, if a setback does happen and you do relapse, you do not start the path from the beginning. Much of the journey will already have been travelled and explored, and you’ll have your resources that you find along the way that will help shortcut that path from a long journey to a short one back to fluency.

It’s my hope that the resources here will be part of your journey and help you take the shorter path to fluency, rather than spend longer than you need to by travelling the long road alone.

You aren’t alone and you will find that out along your journey. You’ll find plenty of support groups, some online, some offline. You’ll meet many people along the way and develop strong friendships with the people you meet.

A stutter is not a curse. It’s part of your character. Stuttering has no negative consequences on your health. As German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche once said, that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

How A Dog Can Be Every Stutterer’s Best Friend

You’ll have heard the saying that a dog is man’s best friend, right? To take that further, a dog more specifically, is every stutterer’s best friend.

You see, the stutter is psychological, so for as long your brain believes you have a stutter, you will have it. The key to pushing past that and onto fluent speech is to create enough of the positive speaking memories for your brain to believe that you can actually speak normally.

And believe me… you can!

You just need a pet. Any pet, because they can’t speak back and they do not judge. Well, maybe they do, but they can’t ridicule you, or pass judgement like humans can.

Pets are tremendous emotional stress busters for stutterers. You’ll notice that when you’re alone with an animal, you’ll be able to speak more naturally and fluently.

Stressed lady

It’s because you do not fear being ridiculed or judged. That’s a rarity for any stutterer to experience and the longer you have the speech impediment, the more likely you’re going to be experiencing high anxiety bursts when it comes to speaking to people.

For that reason, set some time aside each day to speak to your animal. Just make sure it’s not a parrot because if you speak to a parrot and frequently stutter, it’s going to remind you of that constantly!

That will have the opposite effect and confirm to your brain that you do actually have a problem.

Speak to an animal that won’t back chat.

What happens when you do this regularly is that you are creating positive memories of normal speech behaviour. The stutter, for psychological ones anyway, is just a habit. It’s problematic to break but it’s definitely not impossible.

When you aren’t doing the speaking exercise, you need to always be thinking about fluent speech. A fundamental aspect of the brain that many people don’t account for is the fact that as smart as anyone may be, the brain can never tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined.

That’s why meditation and positive affirmations and the like work. If you’re feeling down, you can speak a few affirmations and your mood and outlook will change. You can close your eyes, imagine yourself at the beach, use visualisation exercises and other imaginary stimulants and you can get to a stage where your sense of smell picks up the scent of being on a beach.

Your brain’s a fool!

That’s good news for you because it means you can trick it into believing your speech is perfect. The more you practice, the more believable the scenario becomes. Before you know it, the words you’re used to stuttering over will flow from your mouth without a second thought. It’s only after you’ve said it that you’ll be dumbfounded that you actually managed it.

Of course, this is going to take some time for it to begin working, but the best part is the fact that each day that you are practicing your speech, you get quality time with your pet, where you can sit and experience that peaceful conversation that may only be a distant dream to you just now.

There’s something therapeutic about pets, and you can only experience it for yourself when you have a dog, cat, gerbil, or any other animal you can sit and have a conversation with.

You don’t even need to have a pet. You can talk to yourself if you like. No shame in that, as long as you don’t start answering yourself back!

The only thing that matters is that you get alone time every day to practice speaking without the fear and anxieties of speaking with people. It’s only around people that stutterers usually find their speech problematic. Take away the pressure and the result is near fluency.

That takes you closer to fluency through consistent practice of non-anxious speaking. To the point that your brain believes that you don’t have a speech problem and word by word, your speech will improve.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net