Fed up with those negative voices in your head? you know the ones that go something like this - ‘you can’t do it…, you’re not good enough, you’re a fraud… you’re not clever enough or pretty enough, you’re going to fail’. Sounding familiar?
This negative chit chat is referred to as’ limiting beliefs’; as such thoughts can draw us into a negative spiral, limiting our ability to achieve our aspirations.
Here's the science bit! Limiting beliefs work on the subconscious level, meaning we are not always conscious of them, they protect us from risks and keep us in our comfort zone. Your subconscious mind has no ability to know truth from false. However, if we want to grow as individuals we have to be prepared to step outside our comfort zone and face the negative chit chat. We will never remove negative thoughts but we can manage them. Here’s my insight into how.
1. Become Aware.
The first step is to recognise when these negative voices kick in and how they make you feel and react. By being aware you take on a different perspective. Have you noticed how harsh these thoughts are? We wouldn’t dare say such a thing to a friend or family member, so why talk to yourself in that manner? By becoming aware of the negative chit chat we put it into perspective, we detach ourselves from it and loosen the hold it has over us. Next time you recognise this negative tone remember it doesn’t mean it’s true it’s simply your mind protecting you from something which is a bit scary.
2. Focus on the here and now.
Negative thoughts tend to come from two perspectives
• Dwelling on the past
• Worrying about the future
The past is the past, we need to learn from our mistakes not beat ourselves up, ok it didn’t go as well as you expected but this is how we learn, recognise what did work and keep it and for those aspects that didn’t work think how you modify it next time. We have limited control over the future. What we need to focus on is the here and now. What is the one thing I can do today to achieve my dreams or to manage my concerns? If your answer is nothing then let go, it’s not something you can influence today. When we focus on what we want instead of focusing on what you have, we are continually telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough, that we have failed and as such it reinforces our negative mind set. Instead, we need to focus on the here and now, what is the problem right at this moment that we need to prioritise.
3. Choose how you react.
We can choose how we react to these negative thoughts. Once we are aware, we can deliberately change our thinking so it’s constructive rather than negative. When that negative voice creeps in, listen to it, note it, thank it for its opinion but don’t feed it. Instead be kind to yourself. Take that negative thought and turn it into a positive statement. Positive reinforcements change the way we think if we repeat them often enough so that when that negative thought occurs it’s automatically replaced with a positive one. When I first became qualified as a Pilates instructor my negative chit chat would tell me ‘I was a fraud and didn’t know what I was doing, that nobody would come to my classes’. Instead, I started telling myself that ‘I was qualified, capable and that people would enjoy my classes’. I managed these limiting beliefs and now teach 13 regular classes each week. If I had let these voices take over I would not have been able to introduce many people to the wonders of Pilates or the balance in my work life that I was striving for.
Next time you hear that negative voice, acknowledge it, thank it, but replace it!
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