I had an interesting experience last week involving my self-talk. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and suddenly my inner dialogue came up with a sweeping statement that went something like this –
My life’s a mess!
I’ll give you one guess how I felt after this thought. You guessed it – I felt 10 times worse.
I instantly started thinking about all the things that weren’t going well in my life.
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Important Note – I am not a trained medical professional, so if you are struggling with depression, anxiety or suspect you may have a mental illness, please seek the help of a trained professional.
It’s incredible how a couple of simple words strung together can make us feel. The problem with sweeping generalizations is that they sink in.
Here are my thoughts on paying attention to your inner dialogue.
Awareness is key
The first step is awareness. You have to pay attention to when your inner dialogue goes rogue on you with sweeping negative statements.
Imagine if you walked around thinking to yourself – ‘My life sucks’ over and over again all day.
Here’s the thing though – you might be doing this already, without even realizing it!
Though you might not be using those exact words, the meaning and the way it makes you feel, is the same. You might be using sweeping negative statements about your life on a very regular basis.
It’s important to start being more aware of your self-talk. When you are aware, you can work on changing the way you speak to yourself. When you are not aware, nothing changes.
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Rephrase your thinking
Once you have picked up on a toxic statement, come up with a more accurate one.
For me, it was something like – “I need to spend time concentrating on the housework but my whole life is not a mess”.
It might sound simple but rephrasing sweeping statements by taking out the negativity and emotion can make a big difference.
Have a plan
The next step, particularly if your statement is action-based is to come up with a plan of attack.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious (which let’s face it is when we are most likely to self-sabotage) the quickest way to overcome these feelings is to take action.
You might not be able to do something straight away but you can plan to act later.
Make up a list of the top 3 things you can do as soon as possible to improve your situation and make you feel better.
Don’t make up a stinking long to-do list at this stage – this is what I used to do and it always made me feel more overwhelmed than ever.
Focus on priorities that will help dissolve your negative mindset. They may be simple tasks but it’s amazing how some of the simplest things can make us feel better and more in control.
For me, it’s often posting on this blog. Posting is always an instant lift for me because I know I have achieved something that’s important to me.
Pay close attention to your inner dialogue. Rephrase your negative statements and turn them into something more factual (rather than sweeping generalizations).
Prioritize and take action to get yourself into the right mindset to continue being the wonderful, positive soul you are.
Stop the self-bullying! Pay attention to your inner dialogue and be kind and loving to yourself instead.
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