Self Talk: Detroit Pistons therapist has some important questions that you need to ask yourself

‘It can be scary to ask ourselves these questions’

Society is focusing more on mental wellness than ever before, especially this time of year. That doesn’t mean that we know where to start to help ourselves.

But the nationally known therapist for the Detroit Pistons says the path to calm and happiness starts with simple questions you need to ask yourself.

Dr. Corey Yeager works with some of the most mentally tough guys around the Pistons. But as the team therapist and connecting with players with struggles just like the rest of us, Yeager started asking questions.

“That was the root of the questions in the book is the work that I was doing with my guys,” Yeager said. “The overarching question is how am I doing, that’s the big question, but if I can take bit-sized approaches to those 40 conversations, little by little, I can start to become more deeply aware.”

His new book “How Am I Doing” is a relatable guide in self-talk and has gained national attention with podcasts, shows, and even appearances with Oprah Winfrey.

Christy McDonald: “It can be scary to ask ourselves these questions and then sometimes scary to find the answer.”

Yeager: “I think it’s even more scary to find the answers than ask the questions. So how can we find ways to engage with that person in the mirror to be more curious, to be understanding of how we got where we are and where we’re headed?”

The questions range from what are your wildest dreams to do you know how to do battle? And, who determines your joy? What makes you feel most alive? And what can you do in 23 seconds?

Yeager got that theory using Pistons players’ time between a foul on the court and a free throw shot.

McDonald: “Is it possible to change your thinking in just 23 seconds?”

Yeager: “So yes, yeah, it’s, I mean, unquestionably. So we started thinking, I wonder if you slowed your heart rate down in that 23 seconds, repeated a mantra to yourself before you stepped to the line, and then all of a sudden, you say, ‘Hey, I feel more centered, when I went to that meeting when in that space I felt a little better.’”

McDonald: “Is the tendency in our culture to say Corey, 40? I don’t have time for 40. How about you give us the five questions we need to know?”

Yeager: The one thing I argue, Christy, is there’s no magic pill or shortening condensed way in which we can approach knowing ourselves. That’s going to take work. So finding the ability to dedicate time to yourself is really important. We shouldn’t be searching for a shorter condensed version of understanding ourselves.”

And sometimes, finding that time and means is a privilege. Yeager is acutely aware that there is still a stigma around therapy and prioritizing our mental health.

“Well, hopefully, the book is going to be part of the lexicon part of the culture that normalizes mental wellness,” Yeager said.

McDonald: “What are the short things we should take away and starting to be curious about what we have inside?”

Yeager: “I think you use the word starting. That’s the critically important aspect. Don’t think that you have to jump in and get it all done. Awareness of self in the context of others is really what I’m asking for.”

Yeager says, especially at this time of year, it’s essential to talk to ourselves positively in what he calls to stay gentle and present with ourselves.

And to show you his remarkable connection with his players here in Detroit, former No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham wrote the forward in his book.


About the Authors:

Christy McDonald is an Emmy-Award winning TV anchor and journalist who has covered news in Detroit and Michigan for 25 years before joining WDIV in 2022.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.