Breaking Habits Part Six: Talking to Yourself!

Image result for rewire your brain
We previously discussed coping statements that we can use to help get us through difficult times. The way we talk to ourselves is incredibly important. Our brains internalize what we say - and think. This is how habits in thinking and behaviour are created. Our neurons form connections - 'neurons that fire together, wire together. 

From one perspective, this is why the more negative things you say to yourself or about yourself, the more you believe them. And the harder it is to think differently. BUT, the opposite is true: if you consistently say positive things to yourself, you will internalize them.

It is critical to remember that you might not necessarily 'believe' what you are saying. For example, we know that in tough times, it will pass. No feeling lasts forever. But in the moment, this certainly doesn't feel true! In times of distress, pain, sadness, etc., it feels like it will always be this way. There is no ONE way to fix this. I have learned, in my own experience, that fighting the negative emotions or thoughts DOES NOT work. If I constantly tell myself, 'I should not feel this way. I cannot feel sad. I cannot be angry. This is wrong', and so forth, I will only get MORE frustrated.

Instead, what if we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, and then practice some positive coping tools or say affirmations? For example - let's say you are feeling anxious about an upcoming deadline. You are tense, and your bopdy is tired. You are irritable, and you just want to cry or scream. If you tell yourself that feeling this way is wrong, you will likely only feel worse. But what if you....

Image result for you have power over your mind1) Acknowledge the feeling: I feel anxious now. I AM NOT my anxiety. This is a feeling. And this feeling is bringing up thoughts that I am going to fail, that things will turn out bad, etc.

2) Focus on your values: I value health and happiness. In ten years, will this situation matter? Will I remember how anxious I was now and be thankful for it? What am I missing out on in this moment by remaining anxious and frustrated?

3) Do something else - and say and think something else: I am able to deal with this. It is OKAY to FEEL anxious. But I don't need to act or react to my feelings or thoughts. I know that they will pass, even though I feel awful right now. Instead, I know that practicing gratitude at this time, tolerating the discomfort, and doing something kind to myself will allow me to cope with this.

Image result for self compassion quotes....And soon enough, the feelings will dissipate. The thoughts and feelings might not completely disappear - but they WILL pass and wane over time if you choose to rewire your brain. Over time, your brain will respond to this by making new connections. Sure, it feels terrible and weird to do this during tough times, especially since it is much easier to just feel anxious and NOT challenge the thoughts or choose to do otherwise. But remember: rewiring your brain takes time. It is uncomfortable. But it is so possible. And incredibly worth it.

You can do hard things. Trust that this temporary discomfort, anxious, and pain will pass if you acknowledge it, accept it, and use positive statements instead. Your brain will learn new patterns. You will heal. You will make it through. YOU GOT THIS!

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