Sunday, August 8, 2010

How Much Stress Do You Create with Negative Self-Talk?

OK. Now that you notice the negative self-talk, look at the effect that inner critic creates in terms of everyday stress.  I propose that for many women, inner stressors such as unrealistic demands and expectations of themselves, communicated through harsh negative self-talk, create greater and more frequent pressure than external stressors.

For example, you’re driving on an icy road, without chains or snow tires. You’re late for a meeting that you’re facilitating. You’re shoulders are up to your ears with tension as you focus intensely on the road, your speed, your vision. The voice in your head gets faster, loud and pushy, impossible to ignore. “Idiot. You should’ve started 30 minutes earlier. You knew it was going to be bad driving. You’re such a bad time manager. Oh, God, Harry’s going to be ticked off. I’ve messed up again.”

What’s the major cause of the stress? The external or the internal stressors? The icy road or the self-criticism?

Intelligent women have to wonder why they hang on to this useless, energy consuming, ineffective, self-talk, habit. Imagine if a friend were saying the same ugly things to you that you’re saying to yourself. Would it motivate you? Move you toward your goals? Make you feel good about yourself? Or would it instead send you spinning off into a stressed out funk? And, if you were smart, once you’d recovered from the second or third bout of nasty criticism from that same friend, you’d dump him or her. So why would you hang on to your own inner critic, year after year, when it doesn’t help you to feel better or do better? When the constant critiquing doesn’t increase self-esteem or improve performance? What’s keeping you from dumping the habit? I'd like to know what keeps you stuck in the rut. Do you know?
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1 comment:

  1. It's a bad habit! Like so many other habits, we pick it up, assimilate it and keep it going without really thinking. I've caught myself in just such negative thoughts and when brought to the active mind rejected the conversation and moved on.

    It can become just another bad habit.


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