Achieving success in your chosen area of expertise is a marathon, not a sprint.
You’re playing the long game. This means as you climb the steps on the staircase to success, there will be numerous challenges along your journey – and the way in which you talk to yourself will play a key role in whether you experience inner peace or inner turmoil.
Negative self-talk is one of the biggest obstacles people face on a day-to-day basis, and learning how to transform negative self-talk could make all the difference to not just the destination of your journey, but the quality of the ride too.
When most people think about negative self-talk, the natural response is it’s something to get rid of, something to eliminate, and that all it does is hold us back. But by taking this blanket approach of viewing negative self-talk as being bad, we only see half the picture. We miss the deeper message.
The reason is negative self-talk serves a very important purpose. Otherwise, it would have died out long ago. It serves a purpose because it’s a simple feedback mechanism to let you know you have temporarily veered off track.
The level of negative self-talk you experience will be a direct reflection of two things; your current level of fulfillment in life and your level of self-love.
Although it’s unrealistic to think you’ll never have a negative thought again, when you are engaged in meaningful challenges that inspire you. You love and value yourself for who you are, negative self-talk melts away.
The more frustrated, confused, and demotivated you are in life, the greater your level of negative self-talk. This is your mind’s feedback mechanism to nudge you to change your behaviour and start doing more of what you love. The negative self-talk is hinting to you that you’re not inspired and not spending enough time doing the things that light you up.
The second reason negative self-talk is actually working for you is it’s a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Rarely do inspire and vital people harshly criticise themselves. They rarely put themselves down and beat themselves up because something doesn’t plan. Quite the opposite, they stick with it through the challenges and trust they will come out the other side stronger for it.
The key here is to understand the message that some work needs to be done, and it’s your task to find out what the lesson is behind the negative thoughts. Where do you need to make a change?
In order to transform the way you think and feel about yourself so negative self-talk is no longer needed, we can consider the three key areas that need to be in balance in order to experience a silent mind.
To practice emotional self-care is to have the tools to balance and regulate your own emotions, rather than relying solely on outside social support to self-soothe. This can be most effectively achieved by softening our emotional extremes.
When we are down and negative, our task is to reveal the benefits and opportunities present. When we start to feel happy and ecstatic, we look for the challenges and obstacles to bring us back to balance. By training your brain to see both sides, negative self-talk can’t dominate proceedings, and you feel informed and in control.
Everybody has different degrees of interest and enjoyment when it comes to physical activity. But research shows exercise boosts brain health and gives us that ‘feel good’ chemistry. Exercise is an excellent stress buster, and recent research shows it can contribute to a healthy body image. It can range from walking, a 10 minute HIIT routine, or running a marathon, choose something that brings enjoyment, or it will be unsustainable.
For some, physical self-care may mean a relaxing massage; for others, it’s physical intimacy. Research shows hugging can act as a buffer to stress. Regardless of which method you appreciate, the most important thing is scheduling it regularly. Life tends to get in the way unless we schedule these moments, but they soon become habits. The net result is a gradual and sustainable improvement in self-esteem and confidence.
The saying goes, you become the people you hang around with. Mayo Clinic (2019) provides support for this idea and explains how quality friendships enrich your life and improve mental health. It’s worth asking yourself: Do the people you spend the most time sharing positive and inspiring messages? Or are they often speaking the language of blame, criticism, and pessimism? By carefully selecting and regularly re-assessing the type of people and places we invest our time in, we can align ourselves with people and circumstances to boost our psychological well-being.
These three factors all contribute to a balanced mind, which promotes wellbeing and inspired life. Most importantly, it silences those negative thoughts so you can enjoy life and appreciate yourself for what you bring to the world.