Change your harsh and critical internal voice
Do you have a critical inner voice? Chances are this is feeding anxiety, but good news is, you can change it!
How friendly is the voice inside your head? What does it tell you about your looks, your actions, your success, how your life is going?
All too often we are not kind to ourselves. All to often our voice inside our head tells us:
- You are not pretty, thin or fit enough
- Why did you say that stupid thing? What are they going to think?
- You cannot do that, don’t kid yourself
- You are not doing enough, you need to do more.
Does that sound familiar? Maybe you have one or two additions of your own.
This voice feeds our anxiety. Just feel it for a moment. Sit with the voice, hear what it is saying and feel it in your body and mind. How does this make you feel? Not great, I am sure.
When we have this unkind voice in our head, and when we allow it to speak to us often, it really causes havoc to our internal system. It activates our threat mechanism (which makes us feel stressed and anxious) and it kick starts a cycle of anxiety in our minds and bodies.
The good news is we can learn to change a self-critical voice into a kind voice. Now, I am not going to lie to you and tell you this is easy. Our internal voice is usually something that stems from a while back, and has probably been around a long time, this means we need to put a little effort into it.
But there are many different things we can do to calm this self-critical voice and make our internal voice gentler, kinder, more compassionate and ultimately more supportive of our wellbeing.
One thing you can start now is to recognise how you speak to yourself now and then make a resolve to bring more compassion in your internal voice.
Steps you can take:
- Write down the top 5 things you tell yourself – try to fill in this sentence and you will find the words: “I am not …………… enough”
- Use sympathetic rather than judgemental language when you talk to yourself. You can practice this by asking yourself a couple of questions when you notice that you are being unkind or hard on yourself.
- Can I become aware of what is going on for me. My body sensations, my thoughts, my emotions.
- What do i need right now?
- Do I have a request for myself or someone else (so that you validate and listen to what you really need in that moment)
You may have to repeat this many times, and you may notice it is not so easy, especially at first. However, changing our internal voice from a harsh and critical one to a kind and compassionate one is a critically important element of transforming anxiety.