Do you ever find yourself stuck in a cycle of being really hard on yourself? Well, it might have something to do with your thinking habits. It's time to take control and make some changes by letting go of habits like overthinking, comparing yourself to others, and always thinking negatively. These habits just make everything seem worse.
Instead, let's focus on three specific tips to flip the script into new habits that put your inner critic in the dugout. These habits can really help you stop being so tough on yourself and feel better about who you are.
And don't worry, we're not just going to give you advice and leave you on your own. We've made a workbook that will help you put these ideas into action in your everyday life.
Click here to download your copy of the workbook
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Brian has a Master's Degree in Social Work and is the father of three boys with Autism and ADHD. After receiving the same diagnoses himself, he went on to write 5 books and become a recognized specialist in the field. With a unique approach to helping parents and educators connect with their children who live with these unique challenges, Brian's captivating, interactive presentations and programs continue to change lives around the world. His message of self-compassion, resilience and the importance of working together is one we all need to hear. You can see all the exciting things Brian is up to at BrianCanHelp.com
Visit BrianCanHelp.com to learn more.
your thinking. Habits can either feed negative self-talk or help nip it in the butt. Negative self-talk is that constant inner voice of criticism down in judgment that drags down our self-worth. It can feel like we have no control over it, but our habits have a huge influence on negative thought patterns. I'll share six key habits today Three that tend to reinforce damaging self-talk and three that can help reduce it. Making small changes in these habitual behaviors can create meaningful shifts in how you see yourself over time. Let's start by thinking of the habits you may want to avoid. The first one is rumination, or perseveration. By perseveration, that's a root of persevere, meaning that you stick with something. You don't give up on it. Ruminating is a fixation on your mistakes, your failures or your negative thoughts. You just keep replaying it over and over and over again in your head when we ruminate. That repetition amplifies those thoughts and hardwires them into your brain. Because of the repetition, remember in school how you learned to study your notes over and over until the material sinks in, because our brain wires itself to remember the things that we do repeatedly. The same principle applies here. You repeating these thoughts over and over trains your mind to do this as a habit. The longer you do it, the harder it can be to change it. But change it. You can Notice when you find yourself ruminating and consciously shift your focus to something more positive. For example, switch a phrase like well that was stupid to well, that was interesting. When you practice replacing it consistently when it happens, you train yourself to make that shift. Instead of shutting down, withdrawing, beating yourself up, you follow me Break the cycle before the negative rumination fuels even more negative self-talk. So instead of saying, well, that was stupid, you know, because I'm dumb and I'm not good at this and people probably think I'm a loser, you want to shift it at the first thought, before it becomes that conversation. And if you are used to interrupting it quickly, then the habit becomes to notice, shift and then engage in more positive, uplifting self-talk. Hey, that's first habit. The next one is comparison. We all get trapped in this. It's easy to compare ourselves to others. Heck, marketing is based on this. You know. You look at any commercial and it tells you hey, do you have the best possible this or are you involved in the current trend that your buddies are involved in? You know they make you wonder whether you are in or out, whether you have the status you want or whether you have low status. It's a great big mind job. Beating yourself up for not measuring up to colleagues, friends, family members, anyone, is a dangerous path to go down. It feeds your brain with very damaging messages that you are not good enough. So catch yourself making these comparisons that trigger this kind of self-judgment, this not good enoughness. Remind yourself that your value isn't defined by how you stack up against others. Your value is there just because you're here. Here's an example of how this would sound. If you're thinking in terms of the not good enough ness, you might say something like I'll never be as successful as them. There's so much better at everything. But instead of believing in that, you're going to switch it to. I have my own unique strengths and talents that I'm continuously developing. You know I'm a work in process. I'm on my journey and I am capable of succeeding in my own way. How does that work for you? Let's look at Habits 3. I call it embracing, can't? It's when we avoid things that intimidate or scare us because we are afraid of feeling disappointed or disappointing others, and we miss out on so many chances to grow our confidence, resourcefulness and resilience. Now, sidestepping challenges means reinforcing those self-doubts and fears of failure, and then becomes your reality, the way you think of yourself by default, if you continue to go down that road. So, instead of bracing, can't look for small, manageable challenges that you can tackle Now, things that push you just outside your comfort zone, not so much that you are rattled by it or throw yourself into an anxiety attack, but just like a little bite dipping your toe into the water. Prove to yourself that you can build skills a little bit at a time, baby steps, and chip the way itself limiting beliefs. Examples of this would be like trying new foods or reaching out to a friend you haven't talked to in a while, or creating a daily reading goal for yourself. Maybe you're going to read five pages of a new book every day, and this demonstrates to you that you can take action, make things happen and feel good about yourself. Now the good news is, you can also cultivate the habits that minimize these negative thoughts, and I want to sprinkle that in the discussion so far, but that's what we're going to emphasize next. We talked about the habits that will reinforce the negativity. Now here are three that will reinforce the positivity. The first one is daily gratitude. I know you've heard this one Now. Back in the 80s I think I'm dating myself is when the idea of the gratitude journal really started taking hold and people espouse the virtues of starting your day with three things you're grateful for and then ending your day with three things you're grateful for. And in my experience, and probably a lot of other folks too taking time each day to actively notice and reflect on things you appreciate builds the habit of noticing these things that are working, that are going well, the abundance in the universe that just gives itself to you. I personally make a point of being grateful for the little things. It's the time of year where it's pretty hot and a cold drink on a hot day is worthy of stopping and feeling the gratitude for it, because there are too many things that we are used to being accessible to us and we take them for granted, but them being so consistently available is worthy of celebration. Hey, I woke up and the air conditioner is working, thank you. I went to the fridge and it was full of my favorite food. Thank you, you're able to make coffee without spilling any on the counter. Thank you for that. Now there are more opportunities than you will probably ever notice, and we tend to bias ourselves towards exceptional examples. If someone helps you carry something, you almost thank them with resentment, because you've learned that being helped is not a good thing. Well, that's another conversation. But anything that helps your day go more smoothly say thank you and also this may be very counterintuitive the things that kick you in the head a little bit Remind you to be patient, humble, remind you of how good it is that people are around you, looking out for you, even in those moments where you wish it hadn't happened. When you can find the value, you will say thank you in those moments as well. Now let's talk about the second habit that can reinforce more positive self-talk. It's empowering self-talk. It's the kind of self-talk about giving yourself credit for the actions you took that made something happen. Did you help someone with something you know? Give them a piece of advice. Were you the one helping them carry something? Instead of knocking yourself with statements like you know, it's no big deal, anybody could have done this and making it seem like your actions don't matter, try thinking to yourself I'm grateful this person allows me to help. I really enjoy helping other people. Or maybe I just enjoy being useful and I'm grateful I had that opportunity. Practice saying this switch and tell me if you can feel the difference. You know shifting from it's no big deal. Anybody could have done it too. I'm so grateful you allowed me to help Practice that and let me know what the difference feels like for you. Recognizing the difference your actions make reminds you you are not hopeless. You can consciously act in a way that makes things better in your life, someone else's life in the community. Well, and of course, the opposite is also true. We can make mistakes that cause higher, more upset to someone else that we didn't intend, but being able to counter those thoughts with humility helps you learn from and improve upon them. For example, you can counter thoughts like I'm such a failure with a statement like I'm still learning and growing. I'll get there. I need to be patient with myself and make this positive self talk a daily habit. I can't emphasize that enough. And as Maya Angelou famously said this is one of my favorite quotes Do the best you can until you know better than when you know better, do better. That is a fundamental truth of the human experience. I hope you understand. We are not put here for perfection. We are put here for growth and collaboration. Now the third habit is to practice self compassion. That means treating yourself with kindness and understanding. This is you. Would a friend who's having a rough time when the negative self talk shows up, respond to it with self compassionate thoughts instead of self criticism. Examples are resting and recharging is a sign of strength, not weakness, and maybe even talk to yourself in second person. You say hey, Brian, you know, resting and recharging this is how you take care of you, so you can take care of other people. There's no reason for you to feel guilty about this, because this is some of the most important work that you will ever do the work of self care. Another statement you could say is my personal worth is not open for discussion. I don't rely on other people's opinions to tell me I am worthy of thinking good of myself and that I'm worthy of having others think good of myself. Worth is something you and you alone determine, and it's no one else's business. One last example is I forgive myself for this mistake and I will do better next time. Notice the thread throughout a lot of these alternate statements, or switch statements, is that you are reserving the right to improve. Anything that's happening to you isn't a demonstration of who you are in some fixed way that will never, ever change. It recognizes that, again, perfection isn't the goal, it doesn't even exist. What does exist is growth, learning, progress. So let's emphasize those. The bottom line attention is like oxygen to a bad habit. By deliberately and repeatedly giving your attention to more positive habits, particularly in the way you think about yourself, the weaker your negative self-talk becomes, because the negative self-talk is not getting the repetition, the reinforcement, the hard wiring in your brain. Positive stuff is the habits we cultivate have an enormous impact on how we see ourselves. Be mindful of those that fuel negative self-talk and double down on the habits that foster self-compassion. With small, consistent changes to your daily routines, baby steps, you can gently and gradually minimize, reduce the damage of the inner critic. Now, before I go, I want to try something new to see if it appeals to you. You and I understand that results don't come because of what you know. They come from what you apply. With that in mind, I've created a free workbook to help you apply the concepts in this episode. There's a link at the bottom of the description so you can download it. It's a fillable PDF, so you don't even need to print it out Now. Make sure you email me and tell me whether you like it, so I know to keep on making them All right. That's a wrap for today. Thank you all for listening and we'll catch you next time.