So this week I thought it’d be helpful to start sharing some tips and techniques on how we, in everyday life, can stay on top of our positivity and ensure we don’t give in to the temptation of feeling sorry for ourselves and get stuck in worry, angst and negative thought patterns. It’s this latter point, thought patterns, that is my main focus as it’s really the driver behind the worry and angst.
Our thoughts determine not only how we feel, but also the outcome of our actions. So our success and happiness really are incredibly linked to our thoughts! And sadly for many people, it’s way easier to think negatively, about what’s missing in their lives and how they’re not enough, than it is to stay positive and confident. This tendency can really ruin our greatest successes and joys. Hence my passion for helping my clients shift this balance to a positive one!
The first thing I always bring to the attention of my clients and participants at events, is that they are in control. They own their own thoughts. Their thoughts do not own them. So if their thoughts aren’t supporting and aiding them, theycan change them. This is for many a penny drop moment. A moment of realisation that allows real empowerment. If you accept and claim that responsibility, you do have the power to make your thoughts ones that you enjoy and that enable you to live and love yourself and your life.
The second tip I’d like to share with you today is to raise awareness of over dramatic self talk. What does that mean? Well, us humans don’t cope very well with ambiguity. So if something happens (e.g. we say hello to someone), then there is a gap (we’re waiting for his/her response) and then there is an unexpected outcome (they didn’t say hello back), we tend to fill in the gap in the middle and make up our own stories. In this scenario, we might then start thinking of all the reasons why the person ignored us; how they dislike ur, how we’ve done something to deserve being ignored for, what a terrible person we must be, and so on. Another example of this kind of over dramatic thinking, is when we’ve submitted an important and urgent report to our boss at work, then there is the gap when we’re waiting for his/her feedback and then there is a lack of outcome by the time expected, i.e. we don’t hear back. Many clients have reported to me how in this scenario, it soon became a matter of fact that their boss hated the report, they’ve made a fool of themselves, maybe their jobs are even on the line! These kind of thought patterns pretty quickly turn into severe spirals of negativity, often resulting in some pretty harsh self criticisms, which very quickly knacker self esteem.
When you read these examples, they may have resonated with you (or you might think of some of your own if you scrutinize your past responses). You probably also notice how dramatic the thinking became really rather quickly. Our boss is very likely busy with his/her own deadlines and pressures, and the person not answering our greeting probably simply didn’t hear us. Maybe his/her self talk was on overdrive so our hello didn’t permeate through! Whatever the reason, it’s often all about the other person, and us convincing ourselves that we know we’re responsible is obviously very unhelpful. Not only because it makes us feel bad but because the fact is that we really don’t know!
The key here is to raise awareness of this dramatic thinking taking place. Often we go on autopilot and really don’t notice just how dramatic we’re being. You will however, soon become aware of the feeling and symptoms this confidence knackering self talk brings you. May that be a sinking feeling in your stomach or the heightened heart rate caused by the anxiety. When you notice the symptoms, write down what you’re telling yourself. Ones you read it back to you, you’ll soon discover if you’re being over dramatic. Or use a partner to help reflect back the stories you tell yourself. Again, this can help you hear it from a different perspective, with a little distance between your thought and your interpretation of it. If you chose the latter though, be mindful of who you chose to use as a partner. Don’t pick the person you hate being told you’re wrong by – may that be your partner, mother, best friend…. Or else it might just have the reverse effect than what we aimed for!
So go off and remember you own your own self talk, take responsibility over it and help yourself raise awareness when your thoughts are being unhelpfully dramatic. Good luck!
If you missed and would like to read my blog from last week, you find it here: