Silencing your inner critic and living a more mindful life
Some days it seems that the odds are stacked against us in life. You know the days, when you oversleep because your alarm didn’t go off, you hit every red light on your way to work, your coffee spills in your lap, you get the idea. Or perhaps you feel as if this sums up your entire life perfectly. Does it appear as if no matter what you do, you just cannot get ahead? Maybe you are getting in your own way. What I mean is, maybe you are creating your own obstacles through self-sabotaging thoughts and behavior.
When you make a mistake or things aren’t going right, do you think self-defeating thoughts? Things like:
- “Wow, I am so stupid.”
- “I can never get anything right.”
- “I am such a screw up.”
- “My life sucks.”
- “Everybody is against me.”
- “Nothing ever works out for me.”
If this sounds way too familiar, do not fret. Yes, you are probably allowing your inner critic to trip you up and block your path to success; but there is a solution. Becoming mindful of negative thought patterns can clear away obstacles and help you to get out of your own way.
Google Dictionary describes mindfulness as:
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
3 Ways to Make Mindfulness Work for You:
1. Replace Negative Self-talk With Positive Self-talk
Start paying close attention to the way your mind reacts to stressful situations. When a negative self-defeating thought enters your mind, observe it but do not react to it. Simply acknowledge that it is there and then gently replace the negative thought with a more positive one. For instance: “I can never get anything right.” can be replaced with something like, “I am doing my best, and I am getting things done.”
2. Practice Regular Meditation and Self-care
Life can get so busy that we forget to slow down and take time for ourselves. Eventually, everything piles up and we enter self-destruct mode. Take a moment to breathe and relax. Meditation is a great way to center yourself and come back to a place of calm. Make sure that you are taking time out to take care of yourself and manage your thoughts. A big part of self-care is surrounding yourself with people who support you and lift you up. If your circle is filled with people who bring you down, it might be time to make some new friends.
3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This is one of the biggest hang ups that catches people up in today’s society. Many of us aren’t even aware of how much we tend to compare ourselves to others. Becoming mindful of how we see ourselves in relationship to other people can be a huge step towards creating a more positive self-image. Don’t try to be better than anyone else. Focus on being better than the person you were yesterday. If you ever fall short, be easy on yourself. Big changes don’t happen over night. Remember to take baby steps and eventually you will reach your desired destination.
You are responsible for your happiness, but you are also responsible for your unhappiness. Choose happy. — Holly Kellums
Originally published on Medium.com