Is your inner critic letting you down?
Self-talk can be described as that continuous narrative that occurs between the conscious and subconscious levels of our mind and body. It is a part of the mind that rarely shuts down, and is so familiar that we often aren't aware of these thoughts.
The messages can be benign, positive or negative in nature, and are experienced in our physical body as comfortable or uncomfortable sensations.
Our habitual reaction is often to shut down uncomfortable thoughts and sensations because we believe they may have negative consequences. Our desire for self-preservation leads us to assume that comfort is the safer option. We tend to experience these habitual reactions more acutely when we are about to say or do something outside of our usual routine or comfort zone, and they can manifest as an increased volume and intensity of negative mind messages, as well as physical body sensations such as tension, anxiousness, or a foreboding feeling that something bad is going to happen.
A simple way to work with these habitual patterns of thoughts is by bringing awareness to the body's sensations and movements - our jaws, shoulders, stomach and back can tighten - as a response to the mind messages that are being filtered through. Rather than trying to figure out the content of the messages, we can simply begin to witness what is occurring, use breathing patterns to purposely relax our physical body tension, and harness the power of our mind to calm and assure ourselves that, right now in this moment of time, we are safe. This simple practice can have a profound and uplifting effect on the mind-body.
Negative self-talk becomes more engaged when we judge ourselves as having made a mistake, get things wrong, when we think that life should be any different to what it is right now. It can be a habitual response to turn inward and berate ourselves. Being gentle and accepting that part of being human is to make mistakes, get it wrong and to remind ourselves that often we can learn so much from these times, can reduce the intensity and hold of these negative thought pasterns.
Making a choice to speak to ourselves with positive self-talk, i.e. reassuring words and affirmations, bringing our self into the safety of the present moment with kindness. This reassuring response can contribute to building self-confidence, self-belief, and can calm our emotional reactions and support us through difficult times.
Remembering our innate goodness as a human being, engaging in deep breathing exercises, and using reassuring self-talk, offers a chance to move on faster, make amends, and to make new positive choices.
Self-talk is one of the topics that we will be covered in Caroline Hales and Dr Michelle Woolhouse's upcoming Courageously Me Women's Retreat, running from 27th - 31st August 2018. Caroline and Michelle share a passion for empowering women, and together they offer a unique blend of Western and Eastern healing methodologies and philosophies, many years of professional expertise, as well as many years of intensive spiritual and personal development work. For more information, or to book your place in this retreat, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 651 211.
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