Are you plagued by negative self-talk? Do you start off your day with anxiety over an event that is looming on your calendar? Or do you feel that you are just never going to succeed – maybe you should just give up and go in a different direction? At the end of the day, are you stressed-out and feel that you just can’t keep up? Do you kick yourself because you said or did the wrong thing during an earlier meeting? Are you jealous of your co-worker because she/he just made a big sale or was singled out for praise by the boss?
You are not alone with these thoughts. Behavioral researchers tell us that as much as 75% of what we think is negative, counterproductive, and works against us. And is it any wonder? As Dr. Shad Helmstetter points out in his book “What To Say When You Talk To Yourself”, during the first 18 years of our lives, we were told “No” or what we could not do, more than 148,000 times! (1) Compare that to how many times we were told what we can do or what we can accomplish in life. Today’s parents and schools have more awareness than previous generations and are actively working to provide encouragement and positive feedback. Think of all the trophies that are given out just for being part of the team and trying to succeed. Still, life generates more than ample opportunities that are breeding grounds for negativity and negative feedback and these seem to outweigh the opportunities for praise, affirmations and positive feedback, thus setting a solid foundation for negativity.
Now that you have all of this negative self-talk, how can you get rid of it? It is a well-trained muscle at this point. You have spent your entire life exercising it. It is time to begin to exercise the opposing muscle.
A good first step is to recognize the power of staying firmly grounded in the present. In his book, “The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle points out that negativity is either grounded in the past or anxious about the future. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, and any other form of non-forgiveness are all caused by too much past and not enough presence. Similarly, thoughts and feelings of unease, anxiety, tension, stress, and worry, which are all forms of fear, are caused by too much future and not enough presence. (2)
Does this emphasis on the present, translate to a mantra of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”? No, the take-away is that we should learn from the past, but let the negative emotions go. Similarly, prepare for the future, but don’t worry or stress about it. To worry about the past that cannot be changed or stress about the future that is not yet here takes you away from the present and from experiencing life to the fullest at this moment.
A coach can help you prepare for the future and also help to develop the muscle of positive thinking and positive self-talk. All of us talk to ourselves all the time and much of this is unconscious. A coach will help bring this self-talk to a level of consciousness and develop exercises to replace it with healthy, positive, productive self-talk. The muscle will not develop without consistent focus, exercise, feedback and accountability.
To get started today, call me for a free consultation. Take the first step toward building the muscle of positive self-talk.
(1) Helmstetter, Shad, Ph.D. (2011) What To Say When You Talk To Your Self. Gulf Breeze, FL. Park Avenue Press.
(2) Tolle, Eckhart. (1999) The Power of Now. Novato, CA. New World Library.