See if this sounds familiar: You care about your happiness and well-being, so it works very hard to eat healthy foods, get some exercise every day, build in time and educate yourself on how to stay healthy. Maybe you’re so well informed that you have a job helping others to look and feel better (we know there are a lot of coaches out there!).
But you can not help but notice the feeling that something is missing. You have left the sugar habit, the habit of being too long, the Diet Coke habit, habit and wine – long ago – that awful social smoking habit. That final habit that we all share – and we all want to get rid of? Talk of internal waste.
In the world of psychiatry, called “negative self-talk;” the rest of us know that as a little voice in our head, hitting anything and everything from the food we eat today how we act on a date. You can do everything in your power to be happy, but self-conversation continues and you’re down on yourself.
The thing is that trash talking to yourself is not just depressing. It can also cause a vicious cycle that actually results in not-so-great results. There is some evidence that when you hit yourself (ie I skipped yoga class because I lack self-control) you’re actually less likely to try to change their behavior (what’s the point of enrolling in yoga again if I know I’m not disciplined enough to do this?), and less likely to encounter resistance when life challenges arise. The things you say about yourself in your own head – whether they are true or not – become reality.
One thing is certain: None of us is alone. This talk of self garbage is one of the most common sources of distress.
Luckily, that means there are lots of tips to combat that nasty voice in our heads – and finally feeling the joy and satisfaction you deserve. Try these:
Train your inner voice.
We’ll all talk to ourselves-it’s just a matter of what we’re being nice. Research shows that people who are down on themselves tend to take the blame when something does not go their way, and fire success as a fluke. Optimists? They take all the credit for the victory. Keep on the sunny side if possible.
Tantalizingly simple as statements may be repeating I feel good, I feel good, I feel great (yelling, What about Bob!) Will not get you very far, and can even make you feel worse, underscoring how far from wonderful that you’re actually feeling. Some research indicates that asking questions is more effective. Saying Will I maintain the diet I know it’s healthier this week? invites self-exploration (probes and replies), putting you in control.
Let memories guide you.
One way to inspire yourself and drown-transmitter inside trash trying to drag down-is to think of times in the past, when you succeed in something that was important to you. In a recent study, college students who recalled a positive memory in relation to the exercise were subsequently more likely to work outside of a control group that did no exercise memory (negative memories worked, too, but to a lesser extent). Recalling makes the desired behavior seems more a part of you, so it’s easier to follow through in the future. Neat!