Dealing With Your Stuttering Kryptonite

Happy New Year – Will this be the year to radically change your life?

One of the biggest things on a stutterers mind is often how to overcome it. But before that, you need to accept the issue for what it is, understand it, and recognise your kryptonite.

I had my share of words that flat out embarrassed me, gave me stage fright when I picked up a phone, and even caused me to hinder my career… because I let it. I tried too many things, without sticking to a plan that would help me ease the pressure, push past the nervousness, and develop a sense of fluency.

When I say fluency, I’m not talking about smooth speech, where you sort of sing your words.

Many a time I’ve judged myself more than others have. Have you? You may still do. Speaking to people in conversation with thoughts of:

“They must think I’ve been on the drink with the amount of words I’m tripping up over”.

Then you give smooth speech a try, and instead of thinking people think you’ve had one too many, you then think they think you’ve taken some happy drug.

It’s a vicious circle!

You judge yourself, more than others judge you, and that’s what’s keeping you from a place of peace.

A tranquil place where you can speak the words that’s on your mind, without a fear of speaking.

It’s that fear that’s part of your kryptonite. The other part that requires a bit of attention for fluency is the speed in which you allow your brain to process information.

When you’re paralyzed with fear about what you’re about to say, it’s not just the words that’s on your mind. It’s the nuisance of being judged, tripping up with prolongation, repetition, and when you’re really nervous, you might even prolong some words, repeat others, and perhaps even just block words out.

Kind of like a vocabulary paralysis.

Paralysis should be easy to get past. Just think. What’s the worst that can happen?

You want to know, don’t you?

The worst thing that can happen to someone who stutters is to meet someone new for the first time and discover their also a stutterer.

Hello, mmmmyyyy, my my name’s SsssssTteve.

Hello, mmmmyyyy, my my name’s JJJJJeNnniffer.

Uh-oh, now they think you’re mocking them! Blood pressure shooting through the roof, elevated pulse, with a pitched NO, NO, NO…I, I… and, well you can imagine… the conversation goes downhill from there pretty fast, without a chance of reviving things through a simple and comforting explanation that you both have something in common.

What are the chances of that happening?


So, whatever happens, it could be worse.

Calm your mind, relax your muscles, and speak with confidence

Whatever you find relaxing, that’s what to do in any situation where you feel your anxiety levels rising. Raise your confidence by slowing down your brain processing speed. That’s probably the only thing breathing exercises really help with; slowing down your thinking process, and calming the storm going on in your mind.

Controlling your stuttering brain

Understanding the stutter

Speaking takes more than just saying what’s on your mind out aloud. It takes your brain a lot of power to process the information.

It’s got to process what you’re thinking about saying, like whether it’s the right choice of words. For a person that has a stutter; that processing is more because you’re likely to be thinking about your choice of words, whether you’ll trip up, and stuff like, could I use another word in place of that one instead?

Many times you can use another word, which is why you have more to think about than a fluent speaker.

That’s in the case of nouns anyway. If you stumble on words starting with an S, then telling someone you’ll meet them on Saturday has you worried. Instead, you might switch it to say, I’ll meet you in a couple of days.

You can’t do that with names though, so you have to face the kryptonite head on and push through it.

That’s where the calmness comes into play to reduce the work your brain has to do for you to say what you want to say.

I’m no brain expert, but thinking about the logic behind what goes on upstairs, I’d expect the brain has to signal to your mouth what you’re about to say at the outset. Then make sure that your tongue, lips, and vocals work together in harmony – making the words come out your mouth the way they sound to you in your mind when you think about each one.

Add to that the amount of judgemental thoughts you have, and there’s going to be quite a bit of thought processing going on.

The more you can take off your mind, it makes sense that your brain will have less information to process, thus will be able to help steer you towards fluent speech.

How you think shapes the way you speak. Slow your thoughts down, and your speech will begin to improve.

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