“You should work harder.”
“Why can’t you get all these things done in one day? Are you lazy?”
For many of us, these sound all-too familiar. Are you hearing these statements and questions? Are you the one saying them to yourself?
During our last Mamavation TV show, we were joined by Bev Flaxington, author of Self-Talk for a Calmer You. Bev talked about the negative and hurtful ways we can actually talk to ourselves and gave us tips for stopping this destructive behavior.
The first thing we need to do is to recognize the areas where we fall in to the most negative self-talk. Maybe it’s a situation that we are anticipating or an experience that we are expecting to go badly. We need to recognize that we’re engaging in these negative thoughts and put up a stop sign. Bev explained that this could be a figurative stop sign that we might imagine in our minds, or we could literally say out loud, “Stop it.” In other words, we need to interrupt our own thoughts.
The second step is to replace those thoughts with something more positive. Perhaps we have a mantra or poem or song that is particularly happy and that we like. You can stop the negative flow with something that is positive for you. Think: what makes you smile?
Bev pointed out that much of what we do with negative self-talk comes, unfortunately, from habit. We have practiced these habits for a long time. Making the shift to the positive mantra or thoughts could seem awkward at first. But like any other habit, once we do it enough, we will become more and more comfortable.
Our viewers asked for some practical tips for things we can do right now to stop feeling so much stress and to lessen the chance of negative thoughts. Bev gave us some great ideas:
- If the obstacle that makes you anxious is something you can control, make a new plan. What can you do to change the situation? For instance, if you’re continuing to beat yourself up for eating the chips in the cabinet, get rid of the chips!
- As you begin to stop the flow of your negative thoughts, don’t expect it to be something you can do every day. Do it just a few times a day to get started!
- Figure out the triggers in your personal relationships so that you can avoid negative interactions and situations.
- If you keep a to-do list, prioritize. Choose the three biggest and most important things that you need to accomplish and work on those. Break larger tasks down in to smaller, manageable chunks. At the end of the day, revisit your list and create a new one for the next day.
- Pay attention to the physical feelings you have when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Sometimes, we can create those physical pains just because our minds are in a negative spot.
- Choose one area that is most stressful, and start there. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too many tasks or stress-inducing spots in your life all at one time.
Be sure to watch the video (at the top) to hear all of the wonderful tips and ideas that Bev gave us.
And we aren’t done talking about stress and anxiety! Join us on March 25th from 6-7:30 pm PST for our #beatanxiety Twitter party with 1HourBreak, an everyday stress and anxiety relief oral spray.