A 10 minute exercise to banish that negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk. You may be familiar with that inner voice that surfaces from time to time, chattering away about how you’re not good enough, how things won’t work out, how the future’s doom and gloom, playing out detailed scenarios that far from work out – and basically having an instant effect of making you want to dodge any attempt at risk-taking or really ‘going for it’, in whatever form that means for you in your life or career.
In the 5 years I have practiced as a coach (and a couple of decades teaching before that!) I have encountered numerous people plagued by their far from supportive inner voices. Talented, able individuals who tell themselves they will never have the job they really want, the relationship, the qualifications, the home, the ability to speak in public, the part in the play, the weight loss – the ‘stuff’ that amounts to the life that they would really would like to have.
And the reason for this? Because their inner-voice has told them it can’t and won’t happen. An inner voice that often manipulates past negative experiences, makes us feel guilty, responsible and helpless … and basically convinces us that these will be only be repeated – in spades – with absolutely no concrete evidence to back this up!
And let’s not beat around the bush: the impact this inner voice has is devastating. It stops us from going for what we really want in life…..and if that’s not enough, makes us unfulfilled and miserable in the process.
The good news is, it really is possible to banish the bad voice and replace it with the good – the positive voice that I can guarantee is waiting in the wings to be listened to! And positive voices lead to transformational actions. If we accept that most actions start with a thought, think what these actions could be if the thoughts we had were encouraging, forward thinking and inspiring!
There are lots of things we can do to make this happen, but it can be a surprisingly quick activity to train our brains to replace the ‘old with the new’.
Here is an effective exercise to kick off with, and help transform your ‘inner world’:
A 10 minute exercise to banish negative self-talk.
1) Recognise the negative talk or thought patterns. The more you are able to recognise the unpleasant thoughts /voice in your head, the better equipped you will be to deal with them. These can take on the form of a number of emotions, fears or so-called beliefs, whether it be anxiety, worry, regrets, guilt, unease, self-criticism….learn to be fully aware of what is happening to you at the earliest opportunity.
2) Become an ‘impartial witness’. Observe the thoughts you are having, but try to do so without feeling a part of them. Now that may sound weird; and it does mean facing up consciously to your thoughts, which can be difficult at first. However, if you can achieve this and learn to witness them while having a feeling of detachment you can observe impartially what is happening without getting carried away or getting involved in the thoughts and emotions. (It can take a few goes at the exercise to achieve this, but is well worth persevering.) In a surprisingly short space of time you should get to the point where you stop believing these thoughts or taking them seriously!
3) Be aware of the present moment. The chances are, your negative self-talk is focused around things that have happened in the PAST or what you are worried may happen in the future – and has very little to do with what is happening in the present moment. The more you can become absolutely focused on what is going on around you in the here and now, the more the reality of these thoughts will be diminished. For example take time to be fully aware of your surroundings: nature, home environment, what you are eating, people around you, smells, tastes and sounds. Give your mind a break – by really experiencing (and enjoying!) the present moment.
4) Build constructive thoughts with a supportive voice. Consciously creating constructive thoughts can really help face day-to-day challenges. Depending on your situation it may be necessary to create these ‘one step at a time’ to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For example, just choose one thing that has been on your mind and use past experiences as a learning tool to inform yourself how you can turn the situation around; or help to maximise the possibility that ‘what you fear might happen’ never will, whether it be in your head or in real life!
Whereas there may be no quick fix to getting rid of negative thoughts, the above steps are not only tried and tested, but done in 10 minute bursts can enable a potentially devastating negative mindset transform into one that can be both a huge champion of you, and a great source of strength in all areas of your life.
Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.