Voicing thoughts

2014

Your voice is a fountain from which psychological and physical health springs. Formed from air that has been drawn down deep inside you, any outgoing breath must flow between tough-edged vocal chords before reaching the outside world. At any given moment those vocal chords are primed to chomp together, chop that breath flow into puffs of air and form syllables, words and phrases about anything you choose to say, sing, whisper or shout.

Every emotion, every word, every sound you utter, from birth till death, expresses what you are, what you feel, what you think and what you do.

The expression of our thoughts as words allows us to release love and affection, to share worthwhile information and to off-load worries that could otherwise eat us up from the inside. Left unexpressed, however, such malicious thoughts can suddenly erupt as destructive aggression.

Since early childhood I have taken myself off into quiet places out of the ear-shot of others so that I could talk myself through matters that needed further consideration - places where I could yell or speak out strongly about events or people that had angered, abused or alarmed me. I also made up scenarios and created short ‘one-woman shows’ about things that had pleased or distressed me.

By voicing every part in these shows in appropriately strong or relaxed tones, I found I could control and rid myself of any anger or angst I felt about the events they portrayed. I could also add pleasure to my life. Certain lines from poetry or prose that told of beauty and good-naturedness would, when spoken with appropriate emotion, evoke the same actual emotion as long as the way that I expressed my feelings vocally was appropriate to the imagined situation.

This habit of being able to get things off my chest stayed with me and has always helped me to face ongoing dicey situations, relationships or completely new ventures, in a considered and considerate way. By expressing unhelpful attitudes in a forceful voice while on my own, I find I am able to force attitudes that are too aggressive out of me well before whatever incidents and encounters I might have to deal with in real time.

On a recent long distance car journey I found myself talking with a group of friends about this method of voicing thoughts. Their delighted reaction to what I said, their keenness to try it out for themselves and the genuine uplift it gave them when they did so (especially when, under Coastal redwoods in California, we all found our own space and lifted our voices to the skies). It was wonderfully therapeutic

The biggest surprise for me as we let our voices go was that what I had always thought of as common practice was - for the others - most unusual. That made me think that you too might like to try this vital way of voicing thoughts and discover for yourself what a life-enhancing experience it can be.

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About The Author

Janet Howd
Janet Howd

Janet Howd is a voice coach who works with corporate, academic, legal, theatrical and private clients in the UK, North America, Australia and Europe.