Lighten Up July 28 2015

I am a fan of the singer Pink, and especially like her song, “F**kin’ Perfect”, in which she sings: “Change the voices in your head; make them like you instead.”  And she’s right – negative self-talk can turn a not-so-great day into a worse one pretty fast, and has a way of becoming its own self-fulfilling prophecy.  Studies show that speaking down to – and about – yourself can lead to stress and, in the longer term, depression. 

So, how do we turn the tide?

Turn Criticism Into Critical Thinking: Instead of saying, “I can’t do” something, switch your mindset towards how you can and will accomplish that goal.  So, change “I can’t walk a mile” to “I would like to walk a mile and this is how I am going to do it.”  Speaking with confidence and courage allows for the power of the possible! 

Consult a Friend: Is what you are doing, or not doing, really as awful to the world as it seems to you?  Ask a trusted friend or family member for a second opinion - in journalism, we call that “get a second source”.  Another way of doing it is to think about it this way - if a friend came to you with this self-criticism, what would you say to them?  Then answer that same way – to you!

Change Your Focus: Take your mind off of the issue(s) giving you heartache and do something you both excel at and enjoy.  Your mental well-being affects your physical well-being, so engage in positive activities.

Schedule Time to Talk To Yourself: It is important to deal with and talk out feelings of self-doubt, just not to dwell on them.  So, actually schedule time for negative self-talk – minutes specifically appointed to have that conversation with yourself.  When that time comes, you may find your words have lost some of their impact.