Feeding into this months Stress Awareness month, we want to bring awareness to our self-dialogue and how our inner critic can fuel overwhelm, when left unchecked.
Did you know that the average person has 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day and of those thoughts, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive from the previous day?
Neuroplasticity, also known as neural plasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and re-organisation of thought. I.E. Through practice, we have the ability to transform our inner critic to our inner cheerleader.
Today we will learn a simple method that can help to calm and quieten the mind during periods of stress and periods of reality that could be perceived as stressful.
When we face stressful situations, our inner voice can become louder and make stressful situations seem overwhelming.
Our Inner Critic
The 'inner critic' is a term in popular psychology to personify the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. Our inner critic tends to be an amalgam of the negative and critical comments we may have received or perceived throughout our lives so far. We tend to be much harsher on ourselves than we would be towards another fellow human being, often putting an unobtainable amount of pressure onto ourselves.
If left unchecked, our inner critic can constrict our ability to be creative, stop us from taking risks due to fear of failure, have the ability to make us feel “less than” and can take a lot of the fun out of life.
Our Inner Critic VS Inner Guidance
Our inner critic tends to think in black and white, where as our guidance system tends to adapt more with the natural flow of life, recognise grey areas and focus in on solutions rather than repeating the problem over and over again within the mind.
Our guidance system celebrates small wins, whereas the inner critic does not tend to recognise or celebrate progress. It focuses instead of lack, scarcity and never enough mentality, whereas our internal guidance system tends to see all of life’s possibilities, lean in to what feels good and focus on gratitude.
4 Steps to Rewiring the Inner Critic
- Start by spending a day just observing the thoughts that pass through the mind, do this without judgement.
- Notice where the voice is being harsher than it would be to a fellow friend or colleague.
- Stop and swap. When negative, self-critical thoughts arise, stop and swap it for the next best feeling thought. This may feel un-natural at first, but overtime, the positive thoughts you choose to feed yourself with, will be accepted by the subconscious mind. Overtime our automatic thoughts will lean naturally towards more positive thoughts as apposed to automatic negative thoughts.
- Practice radical kindness. Be kind to yourself and speak to yourself as you would a loved one.