3 ways to decrease negative self-talk and finding peace in your life
Self-Love not just a buzzword anymore
3 ways to decrease negative self-talk and start liking yourself.
Working in the field of mental health counseling and addictions. I have often heard therapists/counselors telling their clients that they need to love themselves more or until you love yourself it will be impossible to love anyone else. I may even have been guilty of saying this a time or two. However, after receiving many blank stares I realized that an abstract concept like loving oneself is so foreign many people don’t know where to start.
People need practical tools they can implement into their everyday lives and for some, loving themselves is impossible because their self-hate is so strong. I looked at my personal journey through self-loathing, my education and the volumes of books I read on the subject. Here are some of the tools I used in order to help my client’s and myself.
At the beginning of this journey, the idea of loving myself was laughable. The very idea seemed hokey, corny, and honestly made me angry. I decided to start slow. I started with being able to tolerate myself, moved to liking myself and then I tried the L word.
I became aware that my negative self-talk was relentless. If I were having a bad day or even if I were having a good day the things I would say in my mind were hurtful and often downright vicious. I realized I needed to find a way to battle the negative self-talk. Here are 3 things I did and have used with my client’s that have been very successful.
I started with; I am ok, everything is ok and built from there. I found a great book by Louise Hay You Can Heal Your Life, which shares many affirmations with corresponding ailments and started with several on my daily to do list. I read these affirmations in the morning, at night and when I started to feel bad about myself. I would say them often during my day to replace the negative talk with positive.
Learning to control your breath is a vital tool in emotional regulation. It will help with anxiety, insomnia, and anger just to name a few. Learning to use my breath to breathe through feelings and emotions has been invaluable. Belly breathing, learning to breathe fully from the diaphragm is a fantastic tool especially for all of us shallow breathers. Thich Nhat Hanh has videos and tapes available. His book Peace is Every Breath, can definitely help you on this journey.
Here’s another one of those buzz words.
I found a definition that worked for me: learning to be the awareness above the self-talk. Eckhart Tolle talks about mindfulness in his book Power of Now. He says, "Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas, before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now. Have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your situation." The Power of Now, and The New Earth both books by Eckhart Tolle are great guides to help you understand mindfulness and come up with your own definition. Stop reacting and start being. Lao Tzu said, "If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present."
So here I give you three methods to decrease negative self-talk. Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself, practice these techniques daily, never give up and everything will be ok. Happiness and peace are possible.