Taming the Negative Self Talk

In today’s blog I’m writing about inner self talk – about what it is, what it does, and I am going to give you some easy ways that you can turn your thoughts around starting right now.  I also have a downloadable workbook that goes with this blog which I will link to at the bottom of this blog.

Last week’s blog was all about How to Shift Your Mindset, and the first thing I mentioned was inner self talk.  I believe that the first thing you need to change if you want to change your mindset is to look at the way you speak to yourself.   

First of all, why would you want to change your mindset.  To recap, from last week’s blog, mindset is your frame of mind; – the way you are feeling right now – the mood that you are in.  That is your mindset.   Just check in – how is your mindset right now?  Your mindset affects how you feel about your life.   Success and happiness are all about mindset, so if you find that you are unhappy in any aspect of your life then your mindset will be at the bottom of it.  It affects everything in your life from what you think and feel to how you act and react.  A negative, fixed, mindset will hold you back from getting to where you want to be in life.  So, in a nutshell, if you want to improve your life then you definitely need to improve your mindset, and I’m here to help you do that and the first thing you need to look at is your inner self talk.

So, what do I mean by inner self talk? It’s the way you speak to yourself in your head.   Inner self-talk is the sound track running through your mind. 

There are two types of Inner Self Talk, positive/constructive inner self-talk and negative/destructive inner self-talk.  Most of our inner suffering and emotional turmoil comes from negative self talk. It is something I have experienced for most of my adult life and I didn’t even know I had any control over it until I learned about this technique some few years ago and even now I have to remind myself and catch myself from time to time.

First of all, let me give you some examples of Negative Inner Self-Talk. Do you ever find yourself criticising yourself for things that you do, or things that you fail to do, or the way that you look when you happen to glimpse your image in the mirror?   

Here are some examples of things you might say to yourself:

  • “I am not good enough.”
  • “I’m going to fail so I won’t bother trying.”
  • “I always give up too soon.” 
  • “I just can’t do it.” 
  • “I’m not as good as she is. She’s better than me.”
  • “There’s no point.” 
  • “I am not worth it.” 
  • “I’m not good at this.” 
  • “People will laugh at me.”
  • “I’m just too stupid.” 
  • “I’m no good with money.” 

Are any of those familiar? Basically, negative self-talk is any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and your own abilities, and reach your potential. It is any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in your ability to do so.

I want to get real with you here.  This isn’t just a wishy washy theory, you might hear this and think, “well yes that’s all very well but I’ve tried thinking positively and it doesn’t work for me,” but this really matters.  Why?  Well, scientific evidence shows us that negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness creates chronic stress, and chronic stress upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and  damages the immune system. Chronic stress decreases our lifespan. Stress can even change our DNA strands which cause us to age more quickly.   

That inner voice can be helpful and keep us motivated.  However, when it gets into the realm of excessive negativity, it can really bring us down. And I mean REALLY bring us down.  It causes significant stress not only to us but to those around us.  And it sneaks up on us.

Keep reading for strategies to recognise and change those negative self-talk habits you have.

Carry on with the negative self talk long enough and you will limit your ability to believe in yourself, limit your belief in your abilities, be unable to reach your potential, damage your confidence and self-esteem, increase your stress levels, and stop you from achieving the success in life you deserve.  Your motivation will decrease, you may feel helpless and eventually suffer from anxiety and/or depression.  It alters your view of reality – it’s like looking through broken glass.  You aren’t seeing things for the way they really are – the truth is distorted.  You won’t see opportunities around you.  These are all consequences of negative inner self-talk. 

I am sorry if this sounds depressing, but this is truly the effect of it, and I know first hand how damaging it can be.   And the thing is, we can change it!  It will require some input on your part, but you can change it.  I know this because I have changed it myself, and my clients have changed it. And the bonus is, changing the negative inner self talk changes so many other things.

Our brains love habit, and the more we indulge in negative self-talk the stronger those neural pathways are.  The more you hear something the more you believe it.  Therefore if you keep telling yourself that you are useless, and not good enough, the more you believe it.  The opposite is also true.

I don’t want you to feel like that, and there is another way.  Today I am going to give you 6 ways that you can change the habit of negative self talk.

Just a reminder that I have created a downloadable workbook that goes with this video which I will link to in the  comments.  

Listen The first thing I want you to do is learn to notice when you’re being self-critical so you can begin to change your thoughts. Be an observer to your own thoughts.  When you catch yourself, simply observe and note that you are carrying out negative self talk. Simply recognising it is the first step and it is very powerful.  

Name it Your Negative Inner voice is just your thoughts.  You are not your thoughts.  One way to separate yourself from your negative thoughts is to give your inner voice a name.  I have a blog called https://suejaycock.co.uk/2018/11/02/8-tips-to-tame-your-inner-gremlin/  8 tips to tame your inner gremlin which will help you out with this one.

Talk to it  When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, you can say to your inner voice, ‘Thank you, I appreciate your attention but I’ve got this and you can relax now.’  I know that sounds daft, but it works!

Change the language When you catch yourself in negative self-talk, it isn’t always easy to turn it around completely.  For example, if you are thinking to yourself, “I can’t stand this,” change the language so that it becomes, “I find this challenging but I can cope with it.”  Or, ‘I hate this,’ can become ‘I don’t like this but I can cope with it and it will soon be over.’  This is because if we try to say the opposite, such as changing ‘I hate this,’ to ‘I love this,’ then your mind knows this isn’t true and won’t accept it, whereas, if you change the language slightly it takes most of the negative power away.

Be a friend When our inner negative voice is really going for it, it can sound like it hates us. We would never say those things to someone else.  I find it helps to say to myself, would I say that to a friend?  Imagine saying those things out loud to a friend and if you know that you would never say that, think instead what would you say to a dear friend who was saying those things about herself. 

Put it in perspective Another way of looking at negative self talk is to ask yourself will it really matter next year, or in 5 years, or in 10 years.  Or zoom out as if you are floating in space looking down from a space ship trying to spot yourself, laying there in your bedroom worrying over the thing that is going round in your head.  It helps to show that it isn’t as massive as you might think in the bigger picture of things.

The more you practise these methods, the more habitual and familiar it will become, and your brain likes familiar things so will tend to think more positive thoughts in the future. 

Remember, you ARE good enough, you ARE worth it, there IS a point, you ARE loveable, and you CAN change.

Here is the downloadable workbook which goes with this blog.

How To Shift Your Mindset

Today’s blog is about how to shift your mindset.  This one is an important one for me, because it is something I have had to learn, and sometimes it has been a struggle.  I know that I can’t be the only one, and therefore I wanted to make this blog all about how to shift your mindset and give you my best tips and techniques which you can try for yourself.  Now this is a massive topic, so today is all about the overview, and we will deep dive into the different aspects of it over the next few weeks

First of all, what do I mean by mindset?  What I am talking about is your frame of mind.  The way you are feeling right now.  The mood that you are in.  That is your mindset.   Just check in – how is your mindset right now?  Your mindset affects how you feel about life.

Now, there are 2 ways of looking at mindset: 

In a fixed mindset, people believe that their basic qualities such as intelligence or talent are fixed traits.  They don’t believe they can be changed. 

In a growth mindset, people believe that their basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.  Things can change.

Now I’m assuming that you are coming from a growth mindset seeing as you are reading this blog, and that you believe that things can change, or more to the point, you believe that YOU can change your thoughts.  Therefore, it follows that you also understand that the mindset that you are in at this moment in time can also be changed.    If you wake up feeling that you had a rubbish night’s sleep, that you are dreading going to work, that you hate your job, that you look fat, and you generally berate yourself about your short-comings then you are in a very negative mindset. Maybe you are worried and anxious about something.  The truth is that whilst you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, your mind is cloudy and you are not in the position to make positive changes.  What you need to do is change your mindset.  Easier said than done – I hear you!

I’ve been there, I know how it feels, I know that when you are in that mindset it can be hard to understand that things can change.  But they can and it starts with you.

Success and happiness are all about mindset, so if you find that you are unhappy in any aspect of your life then mindset will be at the bottom of it.  It affects everything in your life from what you think and feel to how you act and react.  A negative mindset will hold you back from getting to where you want to be in life.

Here are 6 tips to upgrading your mindset, and I am going to go into more detail about each of these over the coming weeks:

  1. Inner Self-talk – be an observer of the things that you say to yourself.  What is the self-talk running through your head?  Your thoughts create your reality, and your negative self-talk affects your mindset.  You need to turn this self-talk around.  I’ve written a blog on this called Choosing Your Thoughts which you might like to read.
  2. How you speak to others – be an observer when you are talking to your friends and family.  What are you saying about yourself? Do you say things like ‘I’m always rubbish at that…’ or put yourself down in your conversation?  (Even in a jokey way?) Do you rerun negative stories over and over? Instead of talking about your problems how about talking about all that is going well? There really is always something positive you can find. This will encourage a positive mindset and abundance.
  3. What’s bugging you most?  Is your weight bugging you? Is it that you aren’t exercising enough? Maybe you have a list? Pick a goal you would like to achieve and think to yourself what mindset do people who have succeeded at this goal have?    Your mind doesn’t know the difference so if you keep telling yourself something your mind will believe it and will be open to accepting a new mindset about health and fitness.
  4. Practice Gratitude.  Whoa I love this one!  I am briefly touching on this and will go in much more detail in the near future, but you might like to read my blog:  ‘Habits to change Your Life- My Favourite Technique’ which gives you some more detail.  In addition to that I have a FREE downloadable Gratitude Journal workbook which has full instructions and daily pages that you can print and complete. 
  5. Schedule ME time:  make non-negotiable time for yourself where you can read and listen to uplifting content; practice mindfulness or meditation; do some emotional freedom technique or similar. Practice yoga; take time for you.   Thing is – if you don’t look after YOU then you can’t help anyone else. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first.
  6. Surround yourself with like-minded people – avoid the negative nellies.  It can be difficult when your partner or spouse is of a negative mindset – remember you can’t change them you can only change yourself.  You can choose your friends though, so if you have friends who drain your energy with their negativity you might want to limit the time you spend with them.

I hope that you have found this useful – I know that I’ve included a lot of content, but this is the overview and I will go into more details in the coming weeks to really help you to embed the tools to change your mindset. 

Don’t forget my free downloadable Gratitude Journal Workbook which I just know you will find useful.

Talk soon

Sue

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

It's okay not to be okay

The fact is, sometimes we don’t feel okay.  If there is one thing I have learned over the last few years, it is that it is okay to acknowledge this.  My old pattern would be to pretend that I was fine and cover up all signs of being less than okay.  I wouldn’t tell anyone how I felt because I was afraid to admit I was less than in control.  I didn’t want to look like I was failing, I didn’t want to show my vulnerability. I would isolate myself.    These days though I recognise the signs and see it for what it is.  Admitting that you are struggling isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always fit with the image of us that we want people to see.  Social media probably has a lot to do with this – it is full of people who seem to have perfect lives, perfect relationships, perfect homes and perfect jobs, not to mention the perfect children and the perfect pets.  I am a life-coach and so my passion is about helping other people to live their best lives and to make the mindset shifts and the changes they need.  However, to get there I’ve had to make those mindset shifts and those changes myself, and the truth is that it is not something that you fix and then you’re done – it needs consistent work and I am only human and sometimes I forget to look after myself properly and then I don’t feel okay. 

In me this manifests in waking up in the night with anxiety and not knowing why, or waking up in the morning feeling panicked.  When that happens I know that I am not okay, and now, instead of hiding it and rushing on with the day, I sit with the feeling, acknowledge it, and then rather than being frustrated at my weakness I will reach out to a trusted friend.  This often helps you see it from a different perspective and grounds you, and helps you to reframe the issue.  My next step is to start working on myself to get my mindset back in balance.   For me that means doing some mindset work, some Emotional Freedom Technique, talking things over with a friend, some meditation, affirmations, go for a walk, some gratitude work.  Embracing the ‘not okay’ times instead of rushing past them is the key, reframing the situation and acknowledging the situation.  This is about accepting and moving through, not ignoring. 

Being authentic and honest is the key.  Dwelling on your perceived failure freezes you and stops you from reaching out for help and clouds your judgement to make good decisions. 

My take-away from this is that is is okay to give myself permission to not be okay sometimes.  I accept that I might not have a solution to a problem right now, and that’s okay too.  This will pass too,

We are conditioned to think that we have to always be in control and always have it together, but we are human, we are flawed, and it is okay not to be okay. 

Thanks for reading, if you would like to find out about working with me please get in touch.

Sue x

Opening Your Mind To Possibilities

Open Your Mind To New Possibilities

Today I’m talking about possibilities.  We are just coming into a brand new year, and it’s a natural opportunity to start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, setting goals, and what we would like to achieve in the coming year.  That might be joining a gym, losing weight, improving your health, keeping in touch with family and friends more often, personal growth, start a new business, improving your finances or changing your job, etc. 

At the same time we might have a brief look over our shoulder and see what we failed to achieve in the past year and we might want to close the door on that quickly.  However, we don’t want to drag the memories or energy of last year’s perceived failures into the new year, and so I’d like to invite you to take a brief look back at the previous year from a different perspective.  Rather than beat ourselves up about what we didn’t achieve, let’s celebrate what we did achieve, and what we learned.  Even if we failed, that failure in itself was a lesson that we needed to learn.  Maybe things didn’t unfold in quite the way you expected, but they unfolded in the way they were meant to for you to experience the lesson in it. 

Before we jump into the new year,  I’d like to suggest taking time to reflect on the past year, to accept what happened, to forgive anyone that needs to be forgiven, (and that includes yourself if necessary).  Forgiveness can be hard, but honestly, from my personal experience, nothing will keep you more stuck that resentment and non-forgiveness.  Erase that negative energy; don’t drag it with you into the New Year.

Make a mental list of what the last year gave you that you are grateful for, this releases stuck energy which allows you to be free to new possibilities in the coming year.  There is always something to be grateful for.

And the New Year?  The only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves.  Open your mind to new possibilities.  Be willing to try new things.  Be willing to get out of your comfort zone.  Take time to sit quietly with paper and pen and write down what you really would like your life to look like.  Take a good long look deep within yourself and allow yourself to freely write what you really want from life. 

Maybe you feel stuck in your life, frustrated and wanting more.  Maybe you feel that you are missing out but you can’t put your finger on it.  Every day there are countless opportunities, countless choices, but what we normally do is stick in our comfort zone; you’ve heard the saying – “if we always do what we have always done, then we will always get what we always got.”   It’s very true.

If you aren’t opening your eyes and setting some meaningful goals then you won’t even notice when new possibilities come your way.  Be careful of not setting goals that are not realistic, goals need to be out of your comfort zone but not so unrealistic that you know that they are not achievable.  Writing them down helps. 

I’m inviting you to embrace change, set some goals, take time to plan, use your creativity.  Remember when you were a child and your imagination knew no bounds.  Put yourself in the mind of that child. What have you got to lose?  Open your mind to possibilities. 

Be aware of habits which have not served you in the past year.  I don’t mean beat yourself up for them, but just be conscious of them, and realise that they no longer serve you.  Once you identify the bad habits it is easier to create new habits.   I talk about this in more detail in my other videos. 

Keep your dreams and your possibilities alive the whole year through by taking quiet time for yourself daily to get in touch with your inner self, whether that’s through meditation, mindfulness or just quiet time.

I’d love to know how you get on with this reflection and planning.  Do leave me a message. 

Happy New Year and Happy New You.

Sue x

Stress – What You Need To Know

Stress - what you need to knowWe all struggle with stress at some point in our lives.  We can’t avoid it, we all have some stress it is part and parcel of life.  We also go through exceptionally stressful periods of life sometimes – such as moving house, a relationship breakdown, death of a loved one.  Not only that we have times when things like exams, having to give a talk, having to do something outside of our comfort zone – we all feel stressed from time to time.

Fortunately, we are designed to deal with stress and react to it.

Here’s what happens to our bodies when we are stressed –  our nervous system releases stress hormones which include adrenaline and cortisol.  These hormones help us to cope with the threat or danger, and is also called the fight or flight response.  It makes up hyper alert and able to deal with the immediate threat.  If we were a cave man or woman we would be able to run away very fast, climb a tree super speedily, or we would be ready to fight.  So stress can be positive as it makes us alert and super focussed.

Once the event subsides we relax and start to calm down, the hormones dissipate in our blood stream.  However, when we continually experience stress in our lives, then the nervous system stays hyper-vigilant, and the stress response carries on continually.  This is when problems arise with our health.    Continued stress causes problems with our immune system.  This is because cortisol which is being continually released supresses the immune system and we then become more susceptible to infections and inflammatory conditions.  We can’t fight off illness so easily.

When we are stressed we breathe harder to get the oxygenated blood around the body faster.  When we are continually stressed then it can make us feel short of breath and can even cause hyperventilation, especially if someone is prone to anxiety or panic attacks.

Also, continual stress keeps our muscles tensed up which is the body’s way of protecting us from injury.  If our muscles are tense for a long time then we end up with aches and pains, tension headaches and migraine.  Holding the muscles tight becomes a habit and we become set in a position, with our shoulders held high, our necks hurting.

Blood pressure and heart rate increases during stress and return to normal once the stressful event has passed.  However, if stress carries on over a long period of time then it can cause damage to the blood vessels and arteries which increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.

As if this isn’t enough, continued stress also plays havoc with our metabolism, our digestive system, and even our reproductive system. Women can experience changes to their menstrual cycles.

When we are stressed over a long period of time we experience tiredness, mood swings, irritability, difficulty sleeping, or staying awake.  We have poor concentration, difficulty learning and remembering things.  It can cause depression and even weight gain.

The way we try to cope with stress can also cause more health issues.  For instance, we might drink alcohol to help us relax, we might smoke, eat too much or take drugs.

I have experienced first-hand the damage that long term stress can cause, and I see it every day in my clients.

This all sounds pretty depressing, right?

My take-away message is – learn to manage your stress, before it causes ill-health. Remember, some stress in life is normal – and a little stress helps us to feel focussed, alert, motivated and ready to act.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Be in tune with how you are feeling and recognise when you are chronically stressed
  • When you recognise that you are chronically stressed accept that you need to take action
  • When you start to feel very anxious or panicky about the things that used to be easy, such as driving somewhere, or going to the shops, then it’s time to manage your stress levels.

The good news is that there are ways of dealing with stress, which are inexpensive and easy to do.  It needs to become part of your life – a habit.  Some of my favourite methods of dealing with stress are:

  • Meditation or mindfulness for just a short period each day helps to calm the mind
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping).
  • Listening to visualisations.
  • Listening to music.
  • Using essential oils.
  • Take time for yourself.

Maybe you need to be open to the fact that you might have to make a change in your life.

If you don’t deal with the chronic stress, then remember that there will be health consequences so it is better to act.  Pretending it isn’t there or hiding it won’t work – you can’t fool yourself.  Look at it squarely in the face and take action – you have everything to gain.

Thanks for reading and if you want to know more about any of the methods I have mentioned,  or if you would like to find out about how to work with me, do get in touch.

Sue