Self Improvement

Crazy Doesn’t Disappear Part 2: What’s your self-talk telling you?

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What if one of your close friends, who fully understood the conflict you were experiencing at work with your supervisor, gave you the following advice?

  • Get Angry – Get intense and charged up!
  • Just ignore your supervisor – Who cares what he/she thinks?
  • Avoid your supervisor – Just isolate and stay away from him/her.
  • You can’t do this.  You don’t have the skills to deal with and work through this problem.
  • You should be panicked – This thing is out of control.
  • You’re screwed – This is not going to end in your favor.
  • You should Give Up!

Seriously, if you had a friend who gave you such advice, what would you do?  I would only think that you would be agitated, frustrated and perhaps even depressed.  Thanks a lot!  You haven’t helped at all. I would hope that you wouldn’t turn to them for advice with future problems.  In fact, you may want to “kick’em to the curb!” 

Forget about this “so-called” friend for a moment. Truthfully, in past circumstances when you’ve been under an enormous amount of pressure how have you responded?  Is it possible that you have in fact reacted in the ways described above?  I know that I’ve been guilty of such thoughts and behaviors.

In part one of this series, “Crazy Doesn’t Disappear,” I explored the idea of managing the “reactionary mind” and letting the “wise mind” be our guide. Optimism is a key quality of wise individuals. Optimism is a MUST for a healthy mindset. It is absolutely essential for strong mental health. In fact, if we were looking at this as a ratio, optimism must far outweigh negativity. So, as an example, to maintain a healthy relationship, both parties involved must make a lot more positive deposits into the relationship versus negative withdrawals.  If the relationship was a bank account, you should always have a positive balance versus being overdrawn.

Now, let’s look at this differently.  What if you asked one of your optimistic friends to help you with the conflict outlined above?  What advice would they give you? Something like:

  • Have confidence – Oh, you can handle this – no doubt!
  • Validate you – I understand. I’m here for you. You’re going to be OK. 
  • Engage you – Thank you for trusting in me and sharing this.  Let me give it some serious thought and let’s circle back tomorrow.
  • Be hopeful – I have faith in you. You’ve always figured out these kinds of things in the past.
  • You have options – let’s break this thing down and find the right solution.
  • Encourage growth – Have you talked with ______?  They went through something similar and I bet their experience can be of help to you.

Recently, I’ve been monitoring my self-talk and have intentionally been pushing myself to replace negative thoughts with positive and optimistic ones. This has been really helpful in the mornings when I’m struggling to get up and get going. I’ve also been doing it as I exercise and need more motivation to finish some home and work projects. (Like this blog – LOL). I’ve been amazed how easily I can get off track and how by quickly redirecting my thoughts, I can quickly rebound with more energy and drive. I’ve noticed a considerable uptick in my productivity. Having said this, it requires one to intentionally monitor their thinking by reinforcing the mind with optimistic thoughts.  Over time, this will become natural and just a part of your DNA.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  

I think this is outstanding advice. The Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament of the Bible actually said this in the book of Philippians. I think this may be the best advice I’ve ever heard about keeping a positive and maintaining a healthy mindset.

Now, think back to the last advice that you gave yourself.  Was it positive?  What kind of advice would you give yourself today? How optimistic is your self-talk?  Are you building yourself up or tearing yourself down?  Give it a shot!  I think you will be amazed at the results!

Lenore is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Telemental Health Specialist. Lenore is dedicated to helping individuals in improving their well-being, relationships, and productivity. She is in private practice (www.mentalrenewal.net) and has also served as an Associate Staff Psychologist with Doctor on Demand Professionals since December of 2014 providing virtual psychotherapy. Doctor on Demand (www.doctorondemand.com) is a Telehealth organization founded by Dr. Phil McGraw and Jay McGraw.