Notice what kind of language you use for yourself. Do you treat yourself with kindness and love, or with impatience and harshness? In short, have you listened to yourself lately?
Ratio of Positive to Negative Thoughts
In her book, ‘The Sweet Spot‘, Christine Carter suggests you become more aware of the kind of thoughts you are having.
To feel happier and more contented within yourself she suggests you increase your ratio to 3:1 so you are having 3 times as many positive thoughts as negative.
She describes negative thoughts as the keel in a ship, giving us balance and direction, and of course, we learn from them. But negative thoughts can become overwhelming.
So how is your ratio of positive to negative thoughts?
If you realise that your mind seems to bombard you with negative thoughts, harassing you with self-criticisms (and criticisms of others), resentments, feelings of shame, then you probably already know that you need to redress the balance.
Our Default Setting is to Off-load
Brene Brown says:
‘… you’d be surprised how many of us never recognise our emotions or feelings – we off-load instead. Rather than saying I failed and it feels so crappy, we move to I am a failure. We act out and shut down …’
This is the crucial bit – during any day we may experience what we perceive as a failure, a disappointment, a scary challenge or a put-down.
What follows these experiences is the difference between ‘rising strong’ (Brene Brown’s term) and berating ourselves with more unkind words. Our negative inner critic compounds our feelings of failure, self-loathing, shame and blame.
But it’s like a default setting – instead of being curious and noting what emotions and thoughts we’re experiencing, we jump straight to avoidance and damning ourselves.
Next time your inner critic is on over-drive, you find yourself experiencing panic or overwhelm, or you just want to cut through the clutter swirling in your mind, become aware of this.
Notice that you are perfectly capable of shifting your inner words. Allow yourself to accept that you are feeling a strong emotion or that your mind is berating you big time.
Be curious about what you are experiencing. When you feel ready, speak silently and kindly to yourself with words of wisdom. Or adapt words or phrases in ways that feel right for you:
Listen to Yourself and Keep it Kind
Rest your hand lightly on your heart and recite words of loving kindness towards yourself:
‘May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy.’
This can also work if you’re feeling judgemental, critical or angry towards another person. Visualise them in front of you and offer these phrases of loving kindness towards them.
In any situation, notice things to be grateful for:
‘I am thankful for my delicious lunch’
‘I am so grateful I can see/sing/swim/listen to music’
‘I love this blue sky/autumnal leaves/birdsong …’
‘I enjoy finding things to feel grateful for’
The Power of your Breath
If you are about to do something important and you feel nervous or fearful, sense into your feet and experience a sense of balance and grounding. Breathe up as if through the soles of your feet, allowing a sense of your breath and energy flowing up to your lungs and heart, and back down and out through your feet.
As you breathe in: ‘I breathe in peace’
As you breathe out: ‘I breathe out tension/anxiety/shame’
And you can add other positive phrases along with your breath:
‘Breathing in, I feel as strong as a mountain.
Breathing out I feel solid and calm.’
‘Breathing in I feel secure.
Breathing out, I feel grounded.’
The Power of Affirmations
Louise Hay has plenty of resources such as books and cards for you to keep close to hand with a treasure of affirmations. When you learn an affirmation it becomes a powerful mantra that you can access for yourself any time and any place:
‘I am good enough. Life is easy and joyful’
‘Negative thought – I let you go’
‘I am calm and at peace’
‘I embrace change and know that I am strong’
‘I am peace’
‘I am love’
‘I am calm. All is well.’
Listen in to your heart
The more you listen with awareness to your inner thoughts, the more you can change your experience of life. Remember what happens if you don’t:
“…why should I listen to my heart?”
“Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.”
‘The Alchemist’ by Paolo Coelho
Do you have any helpful mantras or affirmations that help you shift to a stronger and wiser place? You are welcome to share them in our Comments below.
You might also like to read:
35 Affirmations That Will Change Your Life
‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown
Louise Hay – Affirmations and Wisdom on her website