Tag Archive : self esteem

/ self esteem

How to tame the negative self-talk within you

December 3, 2019 | Health, Info | No Comments

There is a saying that we are our worst enemy. Despite how well adjusted you may think you are, a bad day or period of time can trigger off a battery of negative thoughts.

This in turn can cause you to experience everything from anxiety, guilt, anger and even fear.

Additionally, such negative emotions can trigger a vicious cycle of both physical and mental effects: feeling overly stressed, causing hypertension, experiencing bouts of insomnia, spiking one’s cortisol levels – all in all, it’s bad news and a lot more than just unkind, unforgiving thoughts about oneself or one’s situation. 

“We all can successfully reverse the negative spiral of our own thoughts if we practice this [positive speech] regularly,” shares Ralitsa Peeva from Como Shambhala Singapore.

Be it positive affirmations, writing down a list of everything good in your life to actively re-framing a perceived negative scenario, the common denominator is to be mindful and to take active action.

Here’s what Ralitsa advises…

WHAT ARE THE FIVE MOST COMMON NEGATIVE PHRASES AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EMOTIONS THAT USUALLY DRIVE SUCH NEGATIVE SELF-TALK?

Our usual negative self-talk is remarkably similar across nations, gender, time, profession or age. Most often we beat ourselves with the following phrases:

“I am not good enough.” “If people really see who I am, they will not love me.” “I am such a disappointment.” “What’s wrong with me?” “I should, I have to, and I must.” 

What we say to ourselves in a particular situation defines how we feel but we rarely notice that it is our thought about the situation rather than the situation itself that triggers our emotions.

Our negative self-talk (or negative automatic thoughts) is embedded deeply in our minds and it takes time and practice to become aware of it and to start replacing it with self-compassion, acceptance and patience.  

WE HAVE SIMILAR THINKING DISTORTIONS WHEN WE THINK ABOUT EVENTS

For example, some of the most common ones, familiar to each of us are black or white thinking (when we think in absolutes with no room for middle ground), catastrophising (when we tend to magnify the impact of events and how awful they would be), personalising (when we take blame and responsibility for anything unpleasant even when it is not related to us), negative filter (when we tend to focus on the one negative comment instead of paying attention to ten positive ones), mind reading (when we believe we know what another person is thinking).

HOW CAN ONE REFRAME THEIR SPEECH TO REFLECT A MORE POSITIVE MANNER?

The key first step is awareness. Notice your usual negative thoughts. Pay attention to what is it that your “inner critic” is constantly berating you with.

Learn to notice when that critic has “hijacked” your mind and you are in the spiral of the negative self-talk.

Notice the thought you are holding. Then ask yourself “What is the evidence?” “Is this a fact or is it my perception right now?” “What would I say to a friend who is in a similar situation?” “Is this one of the thought distortions?” “Am I looking at the whole picture?” “Will this be important in one year?”

When you stop yourself from going down the spiral of the negative thinking, take the next step – think what would be a more helpful thought in this situation?

Did your friend cancel on you because she doesn’t like you, or because she’s had a really difficult day and she needs to rest?

Is your boss really in a bad mood because of your job performance or because the planned merger didn’t turn out the way she was expecting? 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LITTLE THINGS ONE CAN LEARN TO DO TO SPEAK FROM A PLACE OF SELF-COMPASSION VS SELF-PITY?

Notice if you are in the “poor-me” mode.

Don’t slip into that mood for too long though because the victim mode rarely gives you a chance to look at the situation differently, and learn and grow from it.

Self-compassion involves personal growth work and giving yourself time to rest, to heal, and to replenish your energy.

Take a few minutes off. Treat yourself with the same respect and empathy with which you would treat your best friend.

WHEN FACED WITH A NEGATIVE PERSON, HOW CAN ONE RE-FRAME THE CONVERSATION?

I encourage clients to put what we call a “titanium shield” where you feel centered, grounded and present and you don’t allow someone else’s storm and drama to spill over because negative moods are “contagious.”

Try to use sense of humour. People who reside more in the negative mood tend to think and speak with phrases like “always” and “never.”

Challenge that; ask “Is it really always true?” Remember that to understand doesn’t mean you have to agree.

You may be present for that person and help them get through an issue but you don’t have to think like them.

INSECURITY IS OFTEN THE CAUSE OF ONE’S NEGATIVE OUTLOOK? WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO IMPROVE ONE’S SELF-ESTEEM?

Practice the positive self-talk that works for you. Find the positive affirmations that really resonate with you and keep playing them in your mind.

Take a moment to see all the good qualities that you have. Remind yourself how you’ve managed to get through difficult times and to help other people when they needed you.

The more we notice what works for us and what it is that we bring to the world, to our friends and family, the stronger our self-esteem will be.

-asiaone

What sound does a pen make? If I told you that it says, “swoosh”, you’re likely thinking right about now that I am in need of a long nap and a week off work.

Let’s suppose for the time being that a pen does say, “swoosh”. If I asked you to repeat this a few times then asked you in a month’s time what a pen says, do you think you could recall the answer? How about in six months’ time?

If I were to do this exercise with you, we might spend about 20 to 30 seconds going over that same line, “A pen says ‘swoosh’”. In just half a minute, your mind would learn something new that it would be able to recollect half a year from now.

By this point, you might be wondering, “What’s so great about that?” In one short, half-minute exercise, our mind has processed something that a pen says. Regardless of the facts or the silliness of the statement, the mind nevertheless takes it in and stores it away in our memory bank.

Now let’s imagine the effect on our minds when we tell ourselves things which, regardless of their accuracy, become deeply imprinted after repeating the same unhelpful messages.

For example, how many of us tell ourselves, “I’m no good”, or “I’m useless”, or, “No matter how much I try, it’s never enough”? If you’re someone who relates to these thoughts, there’s a good chance you’ve spent much longer than 30 seconds telling yourselves these things. Perhaps you’ve been repeating them for years to the point where you’ve started to feel like you embody these messages.

When we internalise unhelpful ideas about ourselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate who we are from the thoughts we believe. We become “fused” with our thoughts – so much so that whenever someone praises us, we find it impossible to accept their kind words.

In mindfulness practice, there’s a focus on two “selves”: the thinking self and the observing self. The thinking self is the one that gets caught up in all our mental stories; it’s that part of us that reminds us of the time we scored a B when our parents expected an A. It’s that part of us that reminds us of all our past mistakes, the part that that is often on hand with a criticism or two.

The observing self takes a different approach. It simply watches our thoughts, neither identifying with nor dismissing them. It looks on as though our thoughts are being played out on a stage and watches the performance. When our observer self wants to, it can engage with the thoughts if they’re useful; otherwise, it just carries on watching the performance.

So how do we develop more of the observing self? We all have it within us already – the fact that you can notice them shows that you’re not your thoughts. There’s no need to identify with or get hooked by them.

If I may indulge in some more silliness, an effective way to cultivate our observing self is to give the thinking self a name. For example, you might call your thinking self “Steve”, or “Mastura”, or “Spartacus” – whatever you like. Please don’t worry, this exercise won’t create a split personality – it’s effective, but it’s not that powerful!

The idea is that our thinking self, “Steve” in this case, becomes our friend. Steve can be mischievous sometimes, a little pesky, but he’s usually well-intentioned. So we accept Steve for who he is, although we don’t take everything he says seriously.

In developing our observing self, we have a quick word with Steve whenever he suggests something unhelpful. Be sure to use your thinking voice in these interactions, otherwise you might get some funny looks as you walk around the shopping mall.

When Steve says, “I’m no good, I’ll never get through this presentation,” we reply, “Thanks for your opinion, Steve. You said that the last time, and the time before that, and everything was fine. You’ll forgive me if I don’t ask you to predict the lottery numbers.”

Each time Steve – or whatever you call your thinking mind – tells you something that is negative, unhelpful and overly-cautious, you can choose to reply in a way that gently ridicules whatever thoughts arise. Of course, sometimes Steve will say something worth listening to, and so the observer self (that’s you) can choose to follow his advice if it’s helpful to do so.

By cultivating our observing self, we separate ourselves from our thoughts so that we no longer become fused with them and we stop identifying with them. It takes time and effort and will feel silly at first but give it a try if you feel like you’re continually having to deal with unhelpful thoughts. In time, you’ll start to see your self-worth and confidence grow, and you’ll also get to enjoy the added bonus of some inner peace as Steve becomes much quieter.

-star2

//graizoah.com/afu.php?zoneid=2458908