Cat’s out of the bag. We all have an unhelpful negative voices that block us from realizing our fullest potential, and Alexa Nehter calls us out on this unhealthy habit. But, she doesn’t stop there, Alexa offer’s us good advice on how to combat these negative tendencies and shift towards more positive behavior. She’s full of tips for living a more healthy lifestyle- check out her book The Clean Yogi
Here’s what Alexa has to say:
Through your journal, meditation and yoga practice, you probably noticed that it’s becoming easier to witness your thoughts, emotions and actions. And you realize how negative your self-talk often can be.
Did you know that negative self-talk is associated with elevated stress levels and depression?
Self-criticism tends to backfire, as it leads us to put our focus on our so-perceived failures, instead of the ways that we may have improved. (Remember: Life is a classroom, not a perfection-show and the more lessons you’ve been offered to learn, the better teacher for yourself and for others you’ll become.)
Here are your assignments to un-train yourself from negative self-talk:
Place the negative voice in a balloon and let it fly.
This can help you to let go of your habitual criticism. This self-criticism (eg. I haven’t done the detox properly / didn’t exercise enough. I screwed this conversation up etc.) is rooted in the way how we grew up and have been educated at school. We are judged and valued from early years on. This with mostly good intentions yet, positive encouragement has come way to short.
This is the reason why positive affirmations are so powerful, it is to re-train our mind to develop a more optimistic, positive and self-loving conversation with ourselves and in this way with others.
Become judgement free
Judgment weakens us completely. It draws all our positive energy. It separates us from others and instead of creating unity and connection we are pushing ourselves away from union, from yoga.
Notice how you feel when you’re judging someone else or yourself: You feel drained and everything than positive or happy.
Now is the time to change this. Start with counting how often you can refrain from judgement (in your mind and in conversations with others). When you catch yourself being judgemental, do the following (it’s not always easy, but I know you can): FORGIVE YOURSELF!
Forgive the thought you had and choose a new one. Commit yourself to set yourself free from judgement. You’ll feel more energized, connected and loving.
Are you guilty?
Women, in particular are champions in feeling guilty. Instead, I challenge you to chose to be kind to yourself and to question your initial thoughts, which is key to quieten that guilty voice.
When you notice the guilt, acknowledge how you feel and ask yourself:
What is this guilt about?
What do I think I have done or said wrong?
How would I judge my best friend if she had done or said this?
Answering these questions, you’ll become more aware of what is really going on. And with getting more clarity on the situation you may discover how harshly you are criticizing yourself.
So always keep in mind, that you’re doing the best that you can, in any given moment. Your best is your best. Be loving to yourself. Forgive yourself. Always.
Would you say this to your friend?
Always check if that what you’re telling yourself is something you’d say to a friend. Would you? I don’t think so. So think about what would you say to your friend instead? I bet it is kind, loving and soulfully encouraging, putting things into perspective.
What is her name?
Negative Nelly? Ambitious Amy? Angry Angelique? Brene Brown called her negative voice The Nag. : “Here comes The Nag again.”. Giving your negative voice a funny name, can lift your feelings around everything a little and give you a birds eye view on life.
Share it and give it a little light
Brene Brown suggests to speak about your thinking spiral and share it with someone: “Pick up the phone and say, ‘OK, I’m in a total shame downward spiral — here’s what happened.'” “At that moment, you’ve cut shame off at the knees. So find the courage to do the counter intuitive thing and tell someone what happened — invariably those conversations end with laughter.”
Let’s beat the beasts of judgement and guilt, to live a life that feels more open, loving and free.
Get more inspiration and wisdom from Alexa on The Bali Retreat.