November 16, 2013
Rapidly Overcoming Negative Self-Talk
The inner critic; we’ve all got one.
It’s that little voice inside your head that finds every opportunity throughout the day to chime in with an “I’m not good enough”, “What will they think of me?”, or countless other discouraging quips that keep us stuck in a place of anxiety and fear.
It’s this little voice that often holds us back from following our heart’s desires. How many times have we allowed our inner critic to psych us out of speaking up, taking action or trying something new? And how many times do we regret giving into our internal criticisms and failing to follow through?
Nearly all of the anxiety we experience is generated by negative self-talk. Just try to get worked up over something without any internal dialogue. Not easy, right?
As mere mortals, it’s rather impractical to expect us to let go of all thought and attain Zen master equanimity, however, there are many effective ways we can use to defeat our inner critic and instantly reduce our anxiety.
Here is one technique that works beautifully:
Choose one of your usual negative self-talk statements. It could be one of the statements mentioned above or a different unsupportive phrase that you repeat to yourself.
Notice where you are hearing the voice. Is it on the left or right side of your head? Maybe behind you or in front? Once you’ve determined where it’s coming from, play it back a few more times and notice how much it affects your emotional state.
Take the voice and move it. Yes, move it so you hear it ten feet above you. Hear it play a few times. Notice your reaction.
Move it across the room twenty feet; and this time change the voice into a high-pitched Minnie Mouse voice. Play it back three or four times and become aware of your emotional response.
Make the voice super slow so that each syllable takes three seconds to complete. Play it back another three or four times. Again, notice how you feel listening to it.
Take a nice deep breath.
Now try to hear the statement as you would normally, noticing what’s different.
After doing this exercise, many people feel a big reduction in the anxiety that the statement used to provoke. The individuals I work with are often surprised at how easy it is to take the sting out of your inner-critic so very quickly.
I encourage you to play around with the voice in (and outside) your head often. The more you overcome negative self-talk, the closer you’ll be to making your goals and aspirations a reality.