Self-talk is the constant stream of unspoken thoughts that flow constantly through our minds. Some of those thoughts are positive and constructive. On the other end of the spectrum, negative self-talk rarely provides helpful ideas for improvement and often focuses on what is destructive and halts progress. Silence Your Inner Critic to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. You can learn to make the necessary mid-course corrections to take control of your health.
Objective self-evaluation is beneficial and motivates us to grow and change. It’s those automatic sarcastic remarks to yourself and others that are damaging. In my Wellness Coach Training at Mayo Clinic, we often discussed “what fires together, wires together.” In other words, the patterns that you repeat are the patterns that get hard-wired in your brain. If you are constantly telling yourself, “I have no self discipline,” before long, your brain will default to that and act accordingly. When you concentrate on the good or what you can do better, your brain wires with that better outlook. At the University of California, Berkeley, they term it “growing the good” in your brain.
The firing-wiring theory fascinates me. It shows the amazing way our brains were designed — we can change! Here are some practical suggestions:
- Expect setbacks in this life. Acknowledge your imperfections but don’t dwell on them. Brene Brown, a PhD researcher who wrote The Gifts of Imperfection, writes “Perfectionism is so destructive. I’ve interviewed CEO’s and award-winning athletes, and not once in twelve years did I ever hear someone say, ‘I have achieved everything I have because I’m a perfectionist.’” What does she hear instead? “They credit their success to their willingness to mess up and move on.”
- Memorize Proverbs 18:15 – “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” I have read nothing in the Bible about being perfect. The Bible is about grace. Give yourself grace; spend your time thinking about what you CAN do rather than what you CAN’T do.
- Ask yourself what a trusted person in your life would say. For instance, if you lock your keys in the car, would that person call you a “total idiot”? So, don’t call yourself names either.
START SOMEWHERE today to silence your inner critic. LIVE YOUNGER by nurturing constructive thoughts and telling yourself that you can always try again. “If your Plan A doesn’t work out, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Remain calm and go for it.” (Author Unknown) You can do it. I will help you.