You just spilled your morning coffee. What do you say to yourself? Does it sound something like this? “I can’t believe I just did that, I’m such an idiot!” Or, “I’m such a klutz! I’m always spilling things!” And to make matters worse it sets the tone for the rest of the day. By the time you get home you say, “You can’t believe the day I had! It all started this morning when I spilled my coffee and it went downhill from there!”
Sound familiar? We often have trouble letting go! Take a minute and think about what you would say to a friend who spilled his or her coffee? Would you say the same thing to them, that you just said to yourself? What if you had said something like this instead? “I spilled my coffee because I was rushing. I’m doing too many things at one time. I need to slow down and take a few breaths.” And then, what if you slowed down, forgave yourself and let it go? What would have happened then? Your day probably would have turned out perfectly fine!
Instead we tend to dwell on the negative and keep reliving it over, and over again. As we repeat the experience we get even more annoyed and angry with ourselves. The more negative we feel, the more negativity we seem to attract! And that’s not the only problem. Our brain believes everything we tell it, good, bad, real or imaged! They’ve done experiments and have proved that the brain can’t differentiate between what’s real and what’s imagined!
There was a study done where they took three groups of people. The first set lifted weights three times a week. The second set went about their regular routine and the third set only imagined that they were lifting the weights. After several weeks, as expected, the first group gained muscle mass. The second group saw no change. And the third group, the one that only imagined lifting the weights? Guess what they found? The third group had an increase in muscle mass almost as much as the group that actually did lift the weights!
Do you realize the implications? Hmmm, maybe we can skip going to the gym! But on a serious note, this proves, beyond a doubt, that whatever you tell yourself over and over, whether it’s true or not, the brain believes it. If you think you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not confident enough, you’ll prove yourself right!
Affirmations are great way to stop the cycle, but if you actively don’t believe them, scoff at them, or ridicule yourself for doing them, they won’t help! You’re sending mixed signals and when in doubt your subconscious will believe the old and familiar negative thoughts. To make affirmations work you must “feel” what you’re saying and believe that new emotion. For instance if you’re affirmation is, “I love myself, just the way I am.” Then you have to imagine how loving yourself feels and then feel the emotion as you say your affirmation.
You can also try recording your affirmations and play them when you’re in a meditative state or before going to bed at night. If you don’t want to record them, get in a meditative and say them to yourself, but you must feel the emotions that match what you’re saying. Be appreciative, loving and grateful for who you are! Being in a meditative state, is very similar to being in a hypnotic state, you’ll be more open to receiving your affirmations, without all the internal chatter!
It’s also a good idea to keep a gratitude journal to help alleviate stress and elevate positive emotions. There are so many things you can be grateful for and it doesn’t have to be big. Be sure to appreciate yourself and the things you do! Maybe you did something to help a friend. Acknowledge that, and be grateful that you had the ability to help. Be grateful when you do things well, for instance finishing a project at work ahead of schedule, or maybe completing a task you dreaded doing. It can also be something as simple as opening a door for someone, making a nice dinner, eating a salad, not eating junk or just making your bed.
Pay attention to what you say to yourself, since what you say to yourself will have a huge impact on your life! Choose positive thoughts, words and actions when talking or referring to yourself. When you catch yourself saying something negative, apologize and tell yourself that whatever you just said isn’t true and say something positive about yourself. When you stop to think about what you’re saying, you’re stopping the program from running on automatic pilot and that’s the beginning of conquering your inner critic!