Millions of people will arrive at their 2008 holidays with unavoidable concerns about the state of the economy, the world, and their personal wellbeing. In addition to normal holiday stress, additional concerns will arise from what they see around them and the conversations that accompany the current state of affairs.

"This year, more than any time I can recall, we are subject to an epidemic of mental, spiritual and emotional fatigue," says Dr. Jim Loehr, whose latest book, The Power of Story: Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and Life, is now in paperback. (Free Press, October, 2008). "If ever there were a time for people to increase their ability to manage their inner conversations and overall wellness--this is it." He adds, “The ability to see clearly in the storm is neither inherited nor something that necessarily develops with age. It comes from repetition and practice, much like strength develops from workouts at the gym.”

Dr. Loehr offers ten "inner voice lessons" from The Power of Story to help people take control of their inner voices.


1. Take Control of Your Inner Discord. Or, as the old saying goes, get your mind off your problems. Consciously turn to an activity that engages and absorbs you completely. Continue it until you can talk with yourself calmly. This sets the stage for the next steps.

2. Summon the Voice of Your Conscience. Ask yourself questions like, “Is this (the stress-producing activity or thought) really something I should be spending my mental energy, time, money or other resources on?”

3. Summon Your Voice of Reason and Wisdom. Listen to the disturbing inner chatter and then write down the facts—just the facts—of what is happening. Then write a brief story—beginning, middle, end—around those facts, using your best wisdom and perspective.

4. Summon Your Voice of Support and Encouragement. Whatever tone of voice you would use with people you care about the most, use that same tone with yourself.

5. Summon Your Voice of Toughness. Without access to the voice of toughness, many of us are too easily pressured by the world. Listening to this voice will help you to “hang tough” in an environment where we're surrounded by catastrophizing.

6. Summon Your “I Don’t Buy It” Voice. When there is negative or nervous talk around you, maintain a healthy inner skeptic; distance yourself from negative group-think.

7. Alternatively, Suspend Your “I Don’t Buy It” Voice. When you feel positive energy from the groups around you, sign on.

8. Summon Your Voice of Compassion. Every time you stimulate feelings of compassion within yourself, you increase this capacity. It is a practice that has as many benefits for you as it does for the recipient of your compassion.

9. Summon Your Voice of Sincerity. This voice gains volume when you listen to and acknowledge your deepest private voice, and then find an appropriate and honorable way of using that voice when speaking publicly to others.

10. Summon Your Voice of Intuition. It doesn’t follow the predictable pathways of conscious logic and reason. Training, listening to and respecting this voice can pay enormous dividends in just about every avenue of life.