Welcome back! Wow, what a month! We learned a lot about mindfulness and the impact it can have on our stress levels and our overall life. A huge thank you to our guest DO, Dr. Laura Rosch, and our two community bloggers, David Tate, and Rahana Bear. Thank you for sharing your walk with us.
It’s now time for A Cup of Coffee…this is the part where I wrap up the month, and blog about my own experiences, offer suggestions, and drink a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) with you while we reflect on life and all it’s complexities. It’s truly my favorite part of this blog, because I get to share myself with all of you.
I would like to address mindfulness from a “self talk” perspective. Let’s talk about this for a minute. In his blog, David mentioned having difficulty with negative self talk following his divorce, and I think most of us can relate to that problem. We talk to ourselves all day long. Even all night long in some cases.
Some of us have brains that wait right up until we are ready to drop off to sleep to remind us what losers we are, intrusively inserting information such as “You didn’t need that piece of cheesecake after dinner”, and “Oh…your parenting skills? LACKING!” We are now wide awake. Sleep won’t come until the wee hours as we self talk ourselves ad nauseam. “The house is filthy”…”OH NO…I forgot (fill in the blank)…I think my memory is going”…”Dinner sucked. I need to get better about cooking healthy food for this family or we are all going to die of heart attacks”…”Please don’t let me have some horrible illness”…”I’m so tired…”. Sound familiar?
Self talk is so difficult to change for the better. Have you ever noticed it’s normally negative conversations that we have with ourselves? Why is that? Why can’t we just as easily say, “You are so amazing…do you know what a great mom you are? Well you ARE! You rock motherhood”. Being gentle on ourselves isn’t second nature. In fact, it’s not even third nature. By engaging in so much negative self talk, you are leaving virtually no space for all the good things you are actually doing in your life!
When you feel yourself slipping into this bad habit (and it IS a habit), stop. Take a step away from your thoughts for a moment. View them from a distance…a “third person” distance. Then ask yourself “Is this really helpful”, and ”Why am I beating on myself like this?”. Once you’ve identified the act, it only gets better. Now you can turn the tide, and challenge those thoughts. “Am I REALLY a bad mom?” and ”Is it 100% true that I have a FILTHY house?”. Be mindful of your thoughts, because they become your state of mind.
Dr. Tim Legg writes in Healthline, “Self-talk is important in many ways. It’s the script that we use to frame our lives. If we constantly give ourselves negative messages, then we begin to develop automatic thoughts that take us from a particular incident to a negative emotional reaction. Conversely, if we engage in positive self-talk, we begin to view the world in a more positive manner and will ultimately feel better about ourselves. We can’t always control what happens, but we can control how we react to it!”
He offers the following strategy for dealing with those pesky interruptions…
List out your negative thoughts as they come up, then ask yourself the following questions about each of the thoughts you’ve listed: (yes, this takes work…you’re worth it!)
• Am I overreacting? Is it really that big of a deal? Is it important in the long run?
• Am I overgeneralizing? Am I coming to a conclusion based more on opinion or experience than facts?
• Am I mind reading? Am I assuming others have specific beliefs or feel a certain way? Am I guessing how they’ll react?
• Am I labeling myself harshly? Do you refer to yourself using words like “stupid,” “hopeless,” or “fat?”
• Is this an all-or-nothing thought? Am I viewing one incident as either good or bad without considering that the reality is rarely black or white? The answer usually lies in the gray area between the two.
• How truthful and accurate is this thought? Step way back and consider the accuracy of the thought as a friend might.
Now this might seem like a ton of work that quite frankly, you simply don’t have time for. I mean…I get it. Ruminating over what a loser I am is SO much more important than getting a good nights sleep, right? Wrong. You are already awake. Get out a pad of paper and deal with it. Right then. Or just go over it in your mind…after all, it’s awake and whipping away on you anyway! Might as well use that time for something constructive! Grab that whip away from those awful thoughts and toss it out the window…replace it with a gentle feather, that’s fanning your brow until you fall asleep.
This video that I’m going to ask you to view made me cry. It’s just so true. If you were to say the things that you say to yourself, to a child, would that be ok? Of course not. Your inner child needs you to be kind to yourself. You deserve to have a mind free from abuse. Enjoy this video, and I truly hope it hits home.
Thank you for reading us. We appreciate you. Next month, our topic will be the Doctor/Patient relationship with Dr. Deb Rowan as our facilitator. Write in to us and tell us about your experiences with that topic! firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, sit back and take in this video…let it guide you, and I wish for you a life time of mindfulness!