When you think about the times that you are encouraged to do better and supported to step out of the comfort zone it is usually when we are surrounded by others. A positive form of peer pressure or 'safety in numbers'.
In 2020 there have been many new ways to feel isolated and cut off; lockdown, and remote working to name a few. The challenge is this means limited access to the people that lift us up or motivate us. Leaving us alone with our thoughts. Research has shown that the way that we communicate with ourselves is often 80% negative. This means our mental health can decline and why we know that loneliness can kill.
Our brain does this to protect us and forms part of our survival. Although while it is helping us survive it is not helping us thrive and reach a high level of fulfillment.
Be mindful of how you speak to yourself, you're always listening!
This form of communication with ourselves is called Intrapersonal Communication. We are the source of the communication and the receiver. The speaker and the listener, even when talking out loud when no one else is around (talking to the dog or cat does not count).
There are many different ways that we actually communicate with ourselves, these are self-talk, meditation, note-taking, scheduling, journaling, daydreaming, practicing dialogue, and even affirmations.
Let's look at self-talk more specifically today. Often people can be told something negative about themselves and then hold on to this statement, when that is repeated in our minds it leads to creating a strong feeling.
Event + Interpretation x Repetition = Strong Emotion / Belief
Imagine how strong that can become when it is over many many years that we tell ourselves the negative statement over and over...
So it will take time to reverse this strong emotion or belief associated with it.
Let me tell you a story -
In my last job, I put on a load of weight - not straight away but over the years it started to pile on. About 2 stone to be exact, some may say it was due to grief of losing someone close to me, some may say it was because of my lifestyle, some may say it was a combination... I'd even started to tell myself some reasons through self-talk
My mum, bless her, trying to make me feel better, was listening to me one day and said 'well it's because you have to to stop and eat at services or airports all the time' - that was my realisation moment - NO IT WASN'T
I was making bad choices.
Not only was I making excuses for myself I was now having others make excuses for me.
Enough was enough, I told myself from then on it was MY choice and that became my SELF TALK... "What choice do you want to make Melissa?" vs the excuse.
1 stone down..... that self-talk switch has made me healthier and happier.
Now, let's imagine someone told you that you were not very good at talking in public when you were young and you were upset by this at the time and replayed it in your mind. It now causes anxiety within the workplace when you think you may have to speak up or at a social function with friends and family. It affects many events and occasions. This may not even be true and has affected your life all of this time.
The only way to change it is to reframe the message and change the story. We can do that by listing down all the negative thoughts that replay in our minds and then next to them write a different way of looking at them, for example, I am not good at speaking in public vs I am a strong communicator and many people like to listen to me.
These new phrases can then be used as daily affirmations. Daily affirmations are positive statements that you say to yourself daily. They can be said in your mind every morning by reading your list or said out loud whilst looking in the mirror. Try it for 7 days and see the results. People have changed their whole lives by doing this.
It's time to thrive and not just survive!
Melissa Curran, Mindset Coach, and Counsellor - is the creator of the Mindset Score. It will help you benchmark your state of mine. You can get yours here - Mindset Score