“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” –William James
One of my biggest life lessons has been to learn how to tame the voice in my head. Whether you have one inner voice or a team in your head, it is important to get this voice to be on your side. On your journey to wellness and inner peace, it is helpful if your inner voice stays on the positive side and becomes an inner coach. I realize that this is easier said than done, as I have experienced many years of an inner critic that was hard to tame.
In order to turn the inner critic into an inner coach, it is important to do some inner work on your mind. We know that health is wealth. And, if you do not have good health, you spend a lot of your energy trying to get it back. But equally important is your mind. If your mind is unhealthy, then you will spend countless hours listening to a voice that is unsupportive of living a positive life. Just like signing up for an exercise program and exercising regularly, innercise (working out your mind) is extremely important.
I was surprised to learn that the average person thinks about sixty thousand thoughts in a day and ninety-five percent of those are the same ones that they thought about the day before. It takes a lot of work to tame the voice in your head. The first step is to recognize that the voice is there and the things the voice is saying to you. Are they positive or negative? If they are positive great – continue. However, if they are negative, self-defeating, abusive, condescending or empty of joy, and full of what ifs—change it. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- First, take an inventory of your thoughts. Over the next couple of days become aware of your thoughts. Record on a piece of paper the number of negative thoughts you have. Set a goal to reduce the number of negative thoughts every day. Wear an elastic band and snap it every time you have a negative thought and work to change it to a better feeling thought. Scream stop in your head and immediately change the thought to a more positive one.
- Second, have a go to thought or carry a picture of something or someone you love that brings you peace, joy and happiness. It could be a person, place or thing – a sunrise, a sunset, pets, foods, people etc.
- Third, as Esther Hicks, American inspirational speaker, often credited as Abraham Hicks says “you need to think a better feeling thought”. She states that you cannot afford one negative thought in your mind. Sometimes, our minds can be like cartoon snowballs rolling down a hill. The more it rolls, the more it gathers snow and it becomes bigger and bigger. If the voice in your head doesn’t stop rolling, it gets bigger and bigger, and it can rob you of sleep, joy and living life to the fullest.
- Fourth – be aware of your attitudes. In Viktor Frankl’s famous book Man’s Search for Meaning, he describes the brutality and suffering that was afflicted on him and others while he was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. The Hitler regime took everything away from him, however, Frankl was able to understand that the one thing that could not be taken away from him was his attitude. He went on to become a famous psychiatrist and helped many people who were ready to give up on life realize that they had choices and within those choices they can find meaning in life. Have an attitude of gratitude and remember to be thankful for everything every day. As soon as you wake up, start thanking the universe for all you have. And keep the attitude of gratitude going throughout the day.
Finally, the road to self-awareness and inner peace can be a long and winding road with many hills and different paths along the way. However, it is worth the journey. Sometimes we get side-tracked and lost. One of the most powerful tools that I have used that has helped me stay on course is my morning routine. I spend one full hour every morning reflecting, journaling, meditating and reading great thought authors. This one habit has elevated my life. If you are not sure what to write about, sign up for my free download of “99 Inspiring Journal Questions” at maggiesullivan.ca .
If you would like to learn more about how to turn your inner critic into an inner coach check out the one-day event – Release, Reset & Restore where I am presenting a session called – “Taming the Voices in My Head”. I will provide you with more tools to defeat the critic, a formula to empower your inner coach and practices to experience inner peace in your daily life.