Critical self talk can be debilitating when we believe what the monkey mind is telling us. Beliefs are core to calming and taming this critical self banter that, for the most part, is deeply ingrained within us, and we don’t even realise this chatter or limiting beliefs are driving our choices and decisions.
Uncovering these beliefs can release us from the chains of critical self talk, set us free into personal growth that heals body, mind and soul. Stay with me here as we investigate this critical self talk and suggestions on practices that can train your mind to be your best friend.
Training the mind
The mind is a fine energy that in eastern philosophical schools is said to require training. In Yoga it is likened to the magnificent Wild Horse (maybe a mustang or a brumby at least that’s how I see it).Curious, light, alert and intelligent. If this horse is not trained it can be very destructive and harmful to human beings. However, if trained with Love, Kindness and Compassion a beautiful relationship can form between horse and human. This can achieve amazing results, when we work together to fulfill our our calling and needs for ourselves and our tribes.
It’s just a habit
Critical self talk can become a habit. A replay of a crappy record that was played in your early years that formed a belief that you were not worthy, loveable or enough. When triggered this can put you into fight, flight, freeze mode or as we more commonly call it STRESS
You delete all the information that comes your way that says “Hey You are a great person” and you only see the information that proves this limiting belief over and over again. For example something triggers you and you think “I’m so irresponsible.” And off your critical voice goes reminding you of all the ways you have always been irresponsible. Your body is freaking out and you “ loose your mind” ( there goes that horse through the china shop)
But hang on a minute
It takes responsibility to bring up children, to go to work every day, to stay in a loving relationship, to feed yourself, to pay your rent, to brush your teeth!!! you hear what I’m saying.
We don’t see how responsible we have been because we have a limiting belief that we are irresponsible and we keep proving this to ourselves over and over and our internal self talk gets louder and louder.
In yoga we explain these experiences or impressions as Samscarsas . We store these experiences in our unconscious mind, Everything, our whole life journey is accessible IF we want to go there.
When we are in a situation that reminds us of a particular strong experience we are “triggered”, this is a Vasana, an unconscious memory. This Vasana will arise and shape how we respond to this present moment situation, and will cloud our current experience. We react from the past experience not present moment awareness.
As we turn to face our critical self talk we must accept that this voice is coming from the past and activating our nervous system and putting that old record on. Our goal is to bring present moment awareness, enter the rest and digest state of our nervous system and respond from this moment or the NOW as Ekhart Tolle calls it.
Present moment awareness
So what is present moment awareness?
This is the act of being right here, right now
Being in the now
It means being able to be with what is happening now within you, in sensation, thought and action. Being an observer of yourself so you can CHOOSE your next move.
Brain waves of critical self talk
When the Limbic system, that ancient part of our brain that is built for survival, says ”EMERGENCY” we go into survival mode. Fight, flight, freeze, sympathetic nervous system response. So many of us live our lives here, and we just can’t think clearly with adrenaline and cortisol pumping through our veins constantly. It is also exhausting and detrimental to our health and wellbeing.
Present moment awareness is a big breath deep into the belly activating, rest and digest state or parasympathetic nervous system. This says “ YOU”RE SAFE” and you can now access the frontal lobes, the most recent developed part of our brain that thinks clearly and access all of the info we need to make a great decision.
This gives you the ability to notice when you are acting from an old habit or belief. To notice this self banter and take action to change it. With kindness and compassion you can stop old habitual thinking and feeling and take time to respond in an appropriate and connective way.
We learn and practice this to communicate with others, in order to build great lasting and loving relationships, but do we practice this with ourselves?
A practice for you to do
We can begin to develop present moment awareness and build a great loving relationship to ourselves by doing a simple body scan. If your body is feeling tense and tight you can bet that your Self talk is on the war path and it’s time to get back to ‘being here now’ and engage your new habit of kindness and compassion.
Here’s a five minute body scan that will serve you well to begin your journey
This is how we begin the journey of self belief, we develop present moment awareness, notice what we are criticising about ourselves, find the limiting belief, open and expand on this. Then we create a new belief that will serve us.
AND PRACTICE IT
Once we open and see the habit or belief we have formed we simply go on ahead and begin to practice our new belief. To continually reinforce that belief that will bring us to peace and contentment and allow us to begin to repeat the good stuff, the uplifting, encouraging self talk that will inspire us to live our lives with purpose and meaning.
My experience with critical self talk
Our daily routines, rhythms and rituals can be of great service to us in forming new habits.
I am a Virgo. I have always been plagued with critical self chatter. I have found life, after surviving anxiety and depression for many years, thanks to my daily yoga practice
When I first received my mantra from my yoga teacher I practice diligently most days and then I began to notice the critic in my head. I fell in and out of practice according to my stress levels and my inner banter. I started to repeat my mantra as I was hanging out the washing, doing the dishes during those daily mundane tasks where the critical self talk can be at its absolute best. I didn’t realise it but I was doing myself a great service. One-day many years later I noticed that now my mantra was my minds resting place and not the critical noisy chatter.
I also lost this ability when I was faced with late my husband’s cancer diagnosis and 18 months later his death.
My harsh critical thoughts were so loud it was hard to sit still. Over the years the only way I could come back to stillness was to work with asana and breath to finally find my peace again. I’m just getting back to being able to sit still and begin with my mantra practice again. It’s been a long road but one I know is worth the journey. There is nothing worth fighting for more than a calm content mind.
Forming new thinking habits
To move out of critical self talk I cannot recommend more, the ritual of your morning self-care practice of yoga .Yoga is not just a physical practice. It is a holistic healing modality that builds strength and flexibility in body mind and soul. This simple daily practice together with intention will Harness your magnificent mind and support you to go on to manifesting great things as you learn to work together as a team. This is how we build new beliefs. We see, hear , feel and know we are worthy, loveable and enough to live in the present. It takes a little time every day to build consistency and the rhythms and routines that help to create certainty in your life.
As you come to the mat with the intention to change a habit or to change a belief. you’re consistently showing up for yourself, reminding yourself every day of who you are in this present moment and how you want to show up in the world.
This is what we strive for in the rise and shine studio, to be our unique selves and to show up for ourselves first so we can then show up for the ones we love ,our tribes and our planet
I trust this information serves you well. Begin small and develop these practices at your own pace. Be with your beautiful mind and make the intention to work as a team, and begin to live your life with inner peace, health and wellbeing