10 Ways to Deal with Your Inner Negative Voice
10 Ways to Deal with Your Inner Negative Voice
Undeniably the world is becoming even more VUCA - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Listening to the news is enough to make even the most resilient individuals think about the major issues affecting us all, from the negative impact of Brexit in the UK, to the financial and political crisis, to the rise in interest rates and inflation, to the energy crisis, all in addition to many people still dealing with the impact of Covid-19. Not surprisingly, levels of stress are increasing with people experiencing generalised anxiety disorder for the first time, whereby the nagging inner critic causes them to worry all the time.
Emotional overwhelm and spiraling negative thoughts can derail plans and limit enjoyment of basic tasks. It’s important to remember that what you think, how you feel, how you behave, and what you then experience can result in a negative thought becoming a reality. Self-limiting beliefs, such as ‘I’m not good enough to be promoted’ and self-defeating, self-sabotaging behaviours, for example arguing with loved ones if you think you’re always right, can all reinforce your negative thoughts. Consistently worrying about being made redundant can become a self-fulfiling prophecy if you become so anxious that you make mistakes and underperform so when cost efficiencies are being made, your performance record puts you top of the pile to be exited.
When I see the deep furrows made by tractor tyres in mud, they remind me that the more you reinforce negative thoughts, the more they can lead to self-limiting beliefs and behaviours, so it's important to work on creating positive neural pathways. If you keep giving yourself positive messages, especially out loud when you wake up, you can start to create better habits to achieve your goals. By repeating and practicing positive statements, you can begin to recreate more positive neural pathways and feel better.
Here are 10 ways to cope better with your Inner Negative Voice to help you to alleviate Stress and Anxiety and develop your Resilience:
1. If you find yourself constantly worrying, listen to your inner judge and set aside specific time each day to ask yourself: ‘Is what my inner voice is saying actually true? Is it a fact?’ Your negative thoughts may be driven by fear so ask yourself how can you overcome that?
2. Stop over-dramatising situations or catastrophising about what might happen or trying to second guess what people may be thinking about you or worrying what they are doing. And stop over-generalising and making sweeping statements, such as ‘I always mess up relationships.’ Instead, ask yourself open questions, such as: ‘Where is the actual proof that my boss is going to promote my colleague and not me?’
3. Chances are what your inner critic is telling you is not true. So, ask yourself: ‘How can I deal with this?’ And write down a SMART Action Plan to address any issues.
4. Identify what you are feeling. Ask yourself: ‘What am I experiencing? How can I address this? What can I do to change it?’ Being kind to yourself helps!
5. Identify your self-destructive ingrained habits and decide how you are going to change them.
6. During lockdowns we all got used to going for a walk. It is a great way to feel better and stop the spiral of negative thoughts. Really paying close attention to the details in your surroundings, including the colours, sounds, smells, and even the weather can help you become more mindful so that you focus on other things rather than your inner negative voice. Capturing interesting and ‘happy’ moments with your camera can also help.
7. If you can’t go for a walk, practice some deep breathing; there are many useful techniques online.
8. If your anxiety is causing you paralysis and you unable to make any decisions, then use the Nike slogan of ‘Just Do It’. Even taking some small steps towards positive action can help, such as starting to clear out your house or garage.
9. Instead of concentrating on the negatives, ask your family and friends to tell you five things they like and admire about you. Ask them what small changes they think you can make to have a happier, more fulfilling life.
10. Concentrate on what you do have, rather than what you don’t have or what you’ve missed out on. And stop wishing you were somewhere else; instead try to see the positive in your current environment.
‘I cannot thank you enough. Before our Resilience Coaching sessions, I had completely lost sight of anything positive or good in my life and I had become obsessed with Covid! I’m now in a much happier, more relaxed place and am back at work.’
Stay positive, stay safe!