I happened to find this while browsing the web one day. It’s an interesting article entitled:
How to Silence Your Inner Critic by New Education for the Workplace-NEWcorp
If you’re not achieving all of your personal and professional goals, and living the life you want, it’s probably because there’s someone holding you back. And guess what? That “someone” is you! Or, more specifically, your overly-critical inner voice might be what’s preventing the best version of yourself from shining through. Well, fear not! What follows are eight great tips to help you say, “Take off!” to that negative Nelly running around your noggin!
The first action is obvious, yet crucial: become aware that those negative thoughts are in your head, on auto-pilot, and flying you straight into a mountain of self-doubt! This is trickier than it might appear, because much of this garbage code was programmed into our heads as children. Our views of the world and ourselves have been with us so long, that in many ways it’s all we’ve known. But if you want to grow into the best possible you, it’s time to start listening closely when you get down on yourself. Do you remember that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris tricked people with a fake recording of his sick voice? Well, the next time you feel down, if you listen closely, you’ll realize that your brain is doing the same thing! The first step in removing the “stinkin’ thinking” is to recognize the stink.
Mental enemy number one:
Once you accept that there are enemies within, in the form of thoughts such as, “I’ll never succeed,” “I’m not smart enough,” or, “No one will ever love me,” you must then choose one to eradicate. “To say that you want to immediately eliminate all negative thoughts is almost unachievable,” comments Shawn Worthy, an Associate Professor of Human Services at Metropolitan State College of Denver. You no doubt want to eventually eradicate all of these egregious mental offenders, and turn your mind into a pristine palace of positivity. But for the best success, address your issues one at a time
You’re not my real fodder!
Now we’re onto techniques for removing or managing these erroneous thoughts. One cathartic and powerful strategy is to simply go on a mental pilgrimage to the source of the issue. Just like an adopted child seeking his or her real parents, you can search out where these negative ideas originated. If you suddenly catch yourself, for example, festering on the fear that you aren’t smart enough, try to remember the first occurrence of this thought. Maybe it came from the criticism of an unreasonably harsh teacher or parent? But now that you’re an adult, as you reflect on this memory, you may see it in a whole new light. Perhaps the teacher had issues of her own that spilled onto you? Maybe your home life was interfering with your studies? This process of reexamination will allow you to add perspective, and discredit the negative thought
Some of you may recall that the Star Trek character Spock was noted for his reliance on unemotional, rational thought. To debunk our stinkin’ thinking, we too can benefit from a cold, analytical approach. Dr. Simon Rego, Director, CBT Program, Montefiore Medical Center, says that, “You need to challenge the thoughts or behavioral patterns as though you were a lawyer. Be rational and scientific. Look for evidence that supports that thought, then play the other side, and come up with evidence that it’s not true.” Initially, it may seem counterproductive to probe for potential truths in our negative thoughts. But to be your best self, that honesty is necessary. Maybe childhood criticisms that “you aren’t smart” lead you to hate school, and ultimately to really fall behind. Grasping that nugget of truth can be the first step in regenerating the dormant portions of your mind.
Take your foot off the distortion pedal:
Dr. Rego further cautions that our minds do a great job convincing us of things that aren’t really true. These are called “cognitive distortions,” and occur in many ways, such as fixating on a small detail and blowing it out of proportion, seeing things in black and white, or finding patterns of failure that don’t truly exist (a full list of ways our minds can mess with us can be found at PsychCentral). So if tracking down the source of the stinkin’ thinking isn’t solving the problem, it may be that there is no source. Your negative thoughts might be the illegitimate children of a strong imagination and wayward, false emotions. There isn’t anything more liberating than realizing your mental prison isn’t real. And now that you’ve recognized that you have a strong, powerful imagination, you can even set about transforming the construct of your mental home from a prison into a castle.
Some people find that the best way to attack a negative thought is to write it down. Applying the rational strategy mentioned earlier, corporate performance coach Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Illustra Consulting, recommends that you, “Write down a list of at least five reasons why there is no real basis for that negative evaluation or statement. Explain your arguments with powerful words until you win the argument.” It is also fun to save your writing, so years later you can re-read it and marvel at how crazy you used to be.
Physically fatigue those flatulent figments of your imagination:
Sometimes a great way to silence the voice, or disrupt the monologue is to exercise. That inner pest will get pooped, and the only one left standing at the finish line will be the bright, positive you. You don’t even have to do anything too vigorous. According to Beth McHugh, psychologist and publisher of www.youronlinecounselor.com, physical activity “Can involve anything from mowing the grass, walking, or cleaning out a cupboard. The secret is the moving, as movement causes a change in brain chemicals. Plus there is a sense of achievement at the end of the activity.”
Read a good book:
Our final tip might be the easiest of all: just read a good book! McHugh comments that reading can, “Transform you from your world to another, and in doing so losing the train of the negative thoughts and replacing it with other thoughts. Any brain activity, such as doing crosswords, craftwork or any hobby that leads the brain in an alternate direction is helpful in eliminating negative thoughts.” So when all else fails, just take a moment to crack a book, play a game, or even watch a good movie; just do something to get your focus off of your current funk.
Think how much you can accomplish now that you have all the tools to tame your stinkin’ thinking. Of course, if you are really tweaking, it is highly recommended that you consult a mental health professional. But once you’re no longer harangued by negative mental hooligans, not only will find that you’re free to achieve your dreams, you might even get to meet someone you never knew existed: the real you!