“Your mind is a ship; it can sail across the universe as long as you don’t allow negative thoughts to sink it.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
Negative chatter is like an enemy. It lurks. It’s repetitive. And, it attacks. Even when occupied with something else it has a rhythm that’s harsh and hard to shake. Then it becomes louder like nails scratching on a chalkboard. You desperately want it to stop. The more you try to stop it, the louder it gets. It never seems to go away. Read on for how you can tame your negative chatter.
Where does it come from?
Everyone has an inner critic. Perhaps we learn it as a child from parents who say “Don’t do that”, “Put that away”, “Come here”, “Go there”, and “Catch this” along with countless other demands. While those exclamations may be helpful and protective, they help develop the internal voice. This voice can be positive or critical.
A crisis makes the chatter louder
You’ve just been diagnosed with a health condition. First you might deny the potential seriousness. As you wander through the many thoughts and learn more, the thoughts build on the danger that could lie ahead if you don’t take action to make a difference. Denial of the problem could lead to danger.
If only you knew that your speeding would cause the accident, you would have slowed down sooner. Why can’t you do anything right. Who can I blame for this. You continue to beat yourself up when the costs, suffering and interference with your life prevails.
You hear a noise. It sounds like rushing water. You look up. Oh no!! Water is coming from the ceiling. How do I turn it off? What do I do? What is happening?
Conflict is like a knob that turns up the intensity
He is sad and angry. She is sad and angry. They are not getting along. There’s nothing they like to do in common. It’s like they live in separate worlds. They live in silence or they fight. No one wins. He is sad and angry, and she is sad and angry. The chatter intensifies.
Work is becoming unbearable. No one sees the real solution. A toxic workplace. No team spirit. The work demands are impossible. No one is responding to all the resumes you’ve sent.
Your child is not following through with home or school tasks. His behavior is more distant even though he is acting out. Outbursts at home and school. Fighting. Communication with him is impossible. You are worried. Everything you’ve tried is not working.
The chatter is like a relentless obsession
You can’t get the thoughts out of your head. It turns over and over with no way to stop. Even when you try to defocus, it keeps coming back with a bang. Its effects are draining. It is unstoppable. It’s always with us yet there are times when we tune it out.
The problem is that this is all NOISE!
But wait! That annoying chatter does have some benefits.
- It is a message that there is a problem and a change must be made.
- It is a way to mull over many scenarios to chose the one right for you.
- It protects you from what you perceive might be a failure.
- It is a way to help you look at possibilities of what can be.
- It is a testament of your strength to move through something difficult.
- The inner critic is always there to challenge your decision making.
If you believe it won’t go away, it won’t go away
What to do about it
Believe it is already different. The biology of belief tells us that that what we have ingrained in out struggles is probably what will actually happen. Remember Walt Disney’s quote “If you can dream it, you can do it”.
Change the story. Your experiences are your stories. That story can be changed at any time. Sit back and rewrite it. Then, edit it and act as though the change has happened.
Take Time outs. Take a time out. Tell yourself you are going to ruminate on the issue for 10 more minutes…then stop. You can tell yourself that you’ll come back to it at a specific time, like 3pm to 3:15 pm. Schedule your times to ruminate. This helps you have breaks from it.
Change your focus. Refocus. Think of something you like to do. Something you haven’t thought of in a while, or something you can imagine. Maybe it’s something you just dream up and put your imagination to work and be in that dream. A game……
Meditate. Meditation may not make the thought go away, but it can help you visit it on another plane. The idea is to watch your thoughts float by without judging them. The thoughts will change.
Take action. Rumination thrives when you’re in a rut. Being motionless, planless, joyless, and actionless, leads to a journey of sulking. Without doing something, it never seems to end. Take action. Do something.
Pay attention to your triggers. An overdose of emotional distress begins with a trigger. A trigger can be a reminder of a dark thought or a memory of a pleasant moment. Triggers have their roots in memories.
Think about a time in your life when you were stuck. Remember that sulking heavy feeling. Remember the specifics of how you moved from that place into a better way. How many different things did you do? Can any of those things be helpful for current or future issues. Did you do any of the steps above? Are you ready to make a difference? Now all you have to do is take some sort of action. What action are you going to take this moment?
If you would like to talk about the inner critic or the constant chatter. Call today at 513-244-6990.