Saying Enough!

Have you ever noticed how you talk to yourself? For many us there can be a constant stream of negative self-talk and this can have a debilitating impact on confidence and mental health.

Your thoughts are things, they have energy.  How you talk to yourself matters. Whether the thoughts are limiting… “No one cares” or they are bolstering …  “I am loved” –  both change your biochemistry instantly. Once the mind has a thought, the rest is history. There is a cascading flow of chemicals, either stress hormones in the case of a negative thought or feel good hormones such as oxytocin with positive, loving thoughts. The mind-body connection is powerful dynamic one which shapes who we are and who we are becoming.

The interesting challenge is that to take charge of our thoughts, we need to go against our biology. Research shows we tend to have a “negativity bias” in our internal chatter. This means that most of the time we are chatting away, it is not making us feel better or strengthening our self-worth. It is in the truest sense doing the opposite, eroding our sense of confidence and connection. So deeply is engrained the habit of replacing positive thoughts with negative thoughts, we do not even realise it.  It is the brain’s inherent way of keeping us safe from perceived threat.

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Why it’s important to know who’s on your Inner Council

Inside our heads can get busy and noisy. Have you ever noticed that the same voices turn up and start directing you, and more than often, it is they that make you emotional? Each voice will be connected to a specific pattern of talking to you and has probably been with you for a long time. This strategy helps you to lessen the grip from this demanding group of directors, and connects you with your wise and intuitive board of directors.

In adult life you can become the director of your own mind and determine who is making the decisions. For most of us, we are unconsciously aligning with the conversations going on in our heads.

Change maker and author, Gary Yardley has identified three default communication styles that can happen when we face conflict situations. These habitual styles area activated when we are not feeling safe, and move to protect ourselves. They are the Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim. Each is designed to help us cope with feelings of fear, stress, shame, guilt and other uncomfortable emotions. The Persecutor goes on the attack, looking to put the blame external and often uses anger and criticism. The Rescuer seeks to smooth over and avoid the conflict, wanting to appease others and gain their approval. The Victim takes a passive stance, feeling helpless and shrinking away to cope with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. While these three patterns can be triggered to cope with an external situation, they can equally happen in our internal minds over a perceived slight.

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