I just read a funny Facebook post by a mom detailing how her mind drifts off during her kids’ sports games. While I was entertained in reading it, I also couldn’t help but notice that most of her stream of consciousness thoughts were self critical. These thoughts went from wondering if her backside sagged in her lawn chair to numerous mentions about cankles. Her self-deprecating piece generated over 143 thousand Facebook shares!
But, if her writing truly reflects her inner dialogue, then I’m a little worried.
- Forgive Yourself: Setbacks and mistakes happen to everyone. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes; give yourself unconditional love and understanding.
- Eliminate definitive words such as ALWAYS and NEVER: Identify specifically and factually what is at the root of the negative self talk. It’s likely that you are overly critical toward yourself.
- Empower Yourself With Possibility: Once you have come to a neutral assessment of the issue that’s prompting the negative thinking, you can come up with strategies for change. For instance, “I’m ALWAYS late. EVERYONE thinks I’m unreliable,” becomes, “I’ve been arriving a few minutes late to morning meetings, when I have to deal with rush hour traffic. Even though this trip usually takes 20 minutes, I’m going to leave 40 minutes in advance, so that no matter what happens with traffic, I’ll be on time.”
- Be In Tune With Yourself: Become aware of media, people, or behaviors that make you feel negative or depressed, and eliminate as many of them as possible. When you find people and behaviors that energize and inspire you, add more of them to your life.
- Visualize It: Imagine yourself as you wish to be. Use as many of your senses (seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, tasting) as you can to create and feel your ideal body. Do this as you go to sleep, first thing in the morning, when you’re stuck in traffic, showering, or brushing your teeth.
- Be It Until You Become It: Live as if you’ve already achieved your goal. Make choices to embody the person you want to be.
- Be Grateful: Take time each day to reflect on three specific things you are grateful for in your life.
- Turn Your Thoughts to Others: Write a letter or call, text, or email someone in your life who you appreciate or may need uplifting and give them words of support and encouragement.Instead of focusing on yourself, put your thoughts onto others. The empathy you share will come back to you.
- Act with Kindness, Expect Goodness: Small acts of kindness add up – hold the door for someone, smile, say hello, and show respect to others. Expect others to have positive intentions first.
- Work It Out: Working out is an incredibly positive way to release stress and boost positive hormones.Rhythmic steady state cardio can melt stress away and power workouts where you push yourself hard for short bursts can help release anger.
Michelle Berkley, NASM-CPT
Rock Fit Personal Trainer