Quieten your Critical Voice & Calm Anxiety
It is hard to be innovative, resourceful, and a creative problem solver when there is a voice in your head constantly criticizing your every move. That voice that tells you that you aren’t doing it right, you should be further along by now, you should be smarter, better looking, wealthier. If criticizing yourself were effective, you would probably have everything that you want by now. To create real change, we need to begin by making peace with the voice that often stops us in our tracks: our critical voice.
Someone made a comment to me today that ‘Decluttering your Mind’ sounds like hard work. Well, for anyone who has continual critical voices in their head, maybe that hard work is worth it. Are you willing to do what it takes to calm the stress centre in your brain? What if I could show you a way that takes a few minutes and leaves you feeling calm, clear and ready to take on the day? Would that interest you?
Let’s fist take a look at workplace stress
According to a Mental Health Foundation Survey of 335 NZ workplaces in March last year, the top 3 causes of poor mental health at work are:
- High workloads, for example piling more and more work on to a worker who appears to be coping fine
- Poor work/life balance, for example excessive overtime taking away precious family time
- Stressful work, for example work that sits way outside someone’s comfort zone or level of ability
I don’t think it’s any secret that our workplace stress could do with a focus on reduction. Many workplaces here in NZ are focusing on doing just that which is fantastic news.
What about the stress in your mind?
But here is my real message. It’s not all external. Just as much as I see stress created from high workloads and workplace stress in my Career Reboot work, the true issue is in how we perceive it and what’s going on inside of us.
Many of the people I work with have had repeating thoughts of:
- I can’t do that
- People will laugh at me
- How embarrassing
- I’m useless
- No one wants to hear what I have to say
- I’m not important
- I can’t handle pressure
- I’ll never get everything done
- No one even notices me
- I should just give up
- Maybe it’s just easier to stay where I am
To create real change, we need to begin by making peace with the voice that often stops us in our tracks, our critical voice.
It’s a massive topic. Most people will deal with their critical voice at some stage in their life.
So where does this critical voice come from?
We all have multiple parts of us that live inside. Some of those parts are loving and kind, some are mean and critical. It seems the voices that get heard a lot, especially when we are about to embark on something that matters to us like a new creative project, a new job, new relationships; are the critical voices that tend to get pretty loud.
Bruce Lipton who is an internationally recognised leader in the power of the subconscious mind suggests that the voices are mostly voices of authority figures, people in our lives from when we were growing up. Most significantly between the ages of 5-6 years old. A lot of the information we take in that time gets embedded in the sub-conscious and runs 95% of the decisions we make which is kind of scary.
One of the things that is really important to recognise is that the adult voices we heard back then get embedded within us and believe it or not some of them really affect our lives.
My life changed for the better when I identified those critical voices that were preventing me from moving forward.
Are your thoughts in a constant loop?
We are creatures of habit. Our brain creates neural pathways from repetitive thoughts and behaviours in an attempt to be efficient and make those things easier. And after some time, they become our default way of functioning.
We live on auto-pilot in some cases. Even with an intention to change, we find ourselves repeating the same behaviours and experiencing the same thoughts. When these thoughts are based in doubt and fear, they are even harder to change. On some level, they are serving a protective function for us. But if we have a strong desire to change, that protection is actually hindering us.
Scientists say we have 50-70,000 thoughts per day, but 90% of them are the same ones as you had yesterday. The problem with that is, that the same thoughts create the same emotion, which creates the same action, which gets the same results and then you get the same thoughts. And so the cycle of creation continues.
So wouldn’t it make sense to find some peace around these thoughts and quieten down that critical voice?
Is it time for a change?
Quietening your critical voice requires internal change, starting with a pause, followed closely by acceptance.
There are numerous ways to take a pause including many forms of meditation and taking a brisk walk. Do whatever you can to get there. Stop fighting; it takes a lot more energy and will wear you down.
Within the pause, develop an awareness of your thoughts. We get so used to hearing our own stories that it’s easy to become oblivious to the messages that we’re sending ourselves. Pay attention to what you’re thinking about and recognise that just because you think something, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Our thoughts are often exaggerated, biased, and disproportionate, but if you try to shut them down it won’t always work. Taking a pause and getting some acceptance and understanding about your critical voice will create a lot more calm within your mind.
The primary technique I use is EFT which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, otherwise referred to as tapping. EFT is receiving resounding positivity for its results, not only from those who use it effectively, but just as importantly, and perhaps even more so, from numerous ongoing university and scientific studies throughout the world. EFT clears the neural pathways to the stress centre of the brain, the amygdala, which in turn creates calmness.
Because EFT is such a powerful tool that returns profound results, I’ve made it a part of my ongoing purpose to share this tool with the world, and particularly within the workplace.
Be sure to check out our very first Webinar on 30th March where we will discuss this topic further and show you an Easy 3 Step Process to quieten your critical voice, calm anxiety and increase confidence.
Remember, stressors are not just external. I see many people stopped in their tracks of success by all of the clutter that exists in their mind and the continual streaming of their critical voice.
And, it doesn’t need to be hard work to quieten it down.
Whenever you hear those nagging, negative thoughts that seem to surface every time you decide to push yourself to try something new, remember, it’s possibly something embedded deep into your sub-conscious mind, not something that has happened today.
Take a breath, take a pause and do your best to relax. The critical voice will only work against your best interests and ruin your self-esteem. The Easy 3 Step Processwe will do within our March Webinar can help quiet your critical voice so you can better listen to your heart and feel free to do what best works for you.
Wishing you a calm and peaceful day.