Happy Talk: The Origin Story

When I was young, going to school made me terribly anxious.  It may have been the math, the milk in bags at lunch (Milk should never be in bags!) or perhaps the classmate who ate my grape Lipsmackers, who knows, regardless come Sunday those butterflies in my stomach were getting quite a work out.  My mother, being the wise woman that she is, devised a plan to help me ease my queasiness: Happy Talk.

Ours was a theatrically inclined family, stay with me here this is going somewhere, so “Happy Talk”*, a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, was something I could easily visualize and sing in my head to calm me.  Without closing my eyes I could see Bloody Mary and her daughter Liat singing “Happy Talk”.  Not only was it a happy, upbeat tune and the chorus very heartening but it was sung by a mother and daughter, so I could also visualize singing it with my mom.  Mind you at that time I did not realize that Bloody Mary and Liat did not have the greatest relationship nor that after that song the musical becomes less cheerful, but I digress.  I did find the song soothing and it even had a handy hand gesture to go with it.  You would place your pointer finger and thumb together and open and close them like they are talking. Now I had several things I could do, using different senses, when those butterflies started.  I could visualize the scene from the movie, hear the song on my head, or discreetly do the hand gesture.  Bloody brilliant my mother is.

Why in the heck did I make you read all this?  Because this is a technique that I still use today when I am in a tough situation and it is an inopportune moment to scream or fall to pieces.  I take a moment and sing in my head, or if I can be alone, say the words out loud.  I find this soothing and it gives me something to focus on while I pull it together.  I have a few other phrases from songs that I use now besides “Happy Talk.”  They are small bits of songs that I really like or that have complicated rhythms or lyrics that really take my complete focus.  Here is an example, “Let It Go”, yes, from the Disney movie.  I usually use this when I am super angry and dwelling on some injustice done to me.  I can visualize Elsa making her little puffs of frosty magic, hear Idina Menzel belting out “Let it go, Let it go; I am one with wind and sky.” It usually brings the “saying something I might regret” danger level from code red to code yellow. So try it, see if it might help you.  Stay with positive songs and/or things that might make you laugh, let’s not make things worse with “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms” shall we.

In a nutshell, hopefully this ↓

giphy (4)

Will lead to this ↓


In order to prevent this ↓



If you try it and it works let me know.


*Here is a link to the song Happy Talk  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMORAZCog5A


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