So you read Part 1 of the inner voices post and now you can see the importance of hearing, but not listening to all of your inner voices. Now you just have to learn a few tricks to master your mind: tune out negative thoughts and ignore them, hear the negative self talk and replace it with something productive, talk back to the voices, visualize your way into something positive, or clear your mind and meditate (or focus on presence). You may find that all of these techniques can be of benefit to you, or you may find that only one works effectively to stop your negative inner dialogue, but the only way to find out for sure is to experiment and practice these techniques.
Changing your inner voice will most likely not be easy, and it may be something you will have to focus on for months or years, but with consistent commitment and dedication you will eventually get better control of your inner voice and your emotions, after you do this your confidence will increase and you will be better poised for success in your endeavors.
1. The first technique for modifying your internal dialogue is to tune it out and ignore it. If you get an urge to try something and a voice of resistance or self doubt shouts its disapproval, some people can just chose to ignore the voice and continue on as normal. Usually though, people with the ability to just continue on and ignore negative self talk don’t have much of a problem with self doubt anyway, certain life experiences have taught them to ignore this voice and follow their passion instead.
2. Next comes thought replacement. This is my personal favorite technique to stop a negative inner voice. There are many different ways to perform this technique and your approach will have to be honed for your situation. As soon as a negative thought occurs you must immediately replace the negative thought with a positive thought. You can practice positive mantras: when a negative thought like “I’m not good enough” enters into your mind you immediately start saying the opposite, you say to yourself over and over “I am good enough”. Your mind can only focus on one thought at a time; focusing on positive self talk will often drown out negative thoughts completely: it is important to do this long enough for the negative thought to stop on its own.
You can also create opposite emotions; for example: when you experience anger practice using appreciation to counter it. I often find myself feeling frustrated in Atlanta traffic, and when I feel frustration building I like to remind myself to appreciate that I have a car and two hands and feet to operate a car at all. Switching your negative emotional state to one of appreciation is an excellent way to stop the negative thoughts from taking hold in your mind.
3. Thirdly, you can use visualization to create an emotional state that will not allow the negative thoughts to take over your mind. Additionally the actual practice of visualization will focus your mind on the task at hand and increase your potential for success. When you feel negative thoughts coming on picture yourself in a happy place or picture yourself feeling confident and successful; picture yourself in vivid detail (what do you look like, what is your life like, how much money do you have, what are your values?). As you become better at seeing your future, you will begin to believe in its possibility and you will eventually start to live and embody that ideal future.
4. The next technique involves talking back to your negative voice, or diminishing its power. The next time your mind says “You aren’t good enough” fire back with “Yes, I am”. Start listing all of the reasons that you are good enough and why you are capable enough to do whatever it is you are looking to do. Make it a debate with you inner voice and really focus on what makes you ready for this task. Another way to build your confidence and crush your inner voice’s power is to repeat your negative thoughts back to yourself, but with an extremely high pitched and irritating voice: imagine your inner voice as a parrot calling out mindless doubts. This will help you to feel bigger than the words that are echoing in your mind, and it will make you aware of how powerless these thoughts really are.
5. Lastly, but certainly not least is the practice of meditation. There are many different forms of meditation, but most can be very effective at stopping a negative inner voice. Meditation removes thoughts from your mind and brings you more into the present. Taking a walk through nature, focusing on deep breathing, forcing the relaxation of your body, clearing your thoughts, or even visualizing serenity can all bring you back into the moment and out of your negative mind. Meditation can be a great tool when all else fails or as a front line defense to negative thoughts.
There are many ways of replacing the negative thoughts that threaten to sabotage you, but the most important thing to realize is that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are only a function of your mind and you hold the power to change your emotions and thoughts; ultimately you get to choose how you respond to life and any negative occurrences in your life. The key is the same as it always is, YOU have the power to choose how you respond.