The Weight of Words
T his image is a physical representation of the negative impact that words can have on the person they are directed at.
When I saw this it startled me and I instantly felt a heaviness in my chest; it evokes sadness and fear and cautions me to be very gentle with myself and others. I am guilty of negative self talk. One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, says that we should speak to ourselves the same way we speak to others. This is critical because if we extend care and concern to anyone during an emotional disturbance, it should be ourselves, first. Negative self talk is a destructive force that shouldn’t be taken lightly or ignored. Those who suffer from chronic negative self talk need to be mindful of how and why it starts and what to do in order to get out of that funky headspace. Below are three steps to help should you ever encounter an emotional disturbance. Step One: Identify your triggers and your response to them Identifying triggers can help put you in control of the outcome when the negative mind chatter starts. Make a list of specific events, emotions, social interactions or behaviors that awaken your inner critic. Some examples could be stress, social influences, not standing up for yourself or failing to do something well. Once you’ve made a list of triggers, make a list of your responses to those triggers and how they make you feel so that you can recognize them in the future. If stress is a trigger then identify the ways in which you deal with stress. If stress causes you to binge and the binge in turn causes your inner critic goes on a rampage; you may want to put this on your list so that instead of binge eating when you are stressed you play with your kids or go for a brisk walk. Step Two: Identify your support team Enroll two or three people and ask them if they will avail themselves, as much as possible, to you so that when you reach out to them they will immediately be there for you. Once they agree, be sure to let them know what your triggers are and how you need for them to support you through your emotional disturbance. Be mindful and purposeful when inviting people to support you and make sure that you share your story with those who are capable of handling it and who will not judge you during or after. Step Three: Identify the activities that change your mood Create a list of mood changing activities that you enjoy doing and actually do them. Identify at least 20 activities that you can do anytime/anywhere so that no matter what environment you are in you are able to do something you love to get you out of the funk. You can compile a ten song playlist of your favorite songs or have your favorite comedy on dvd or instant download so that you can always access it. Other examples of mood enhancing activities are are meditation, yoga or any other exercise or physical activity. If playing with your children (the two and/or four-legged ones) makes you happy then put it on the list. Don’t forget to add physical touch if hugging, cuddling, kissing or sex enhances your mood, then get it on. One thing on my list is crying. Yes, you read that right. Crying is good for you because it allows you to release some, if not all of the emotional tension and once it’s all out, you’ll feel better. Sometimes there is no other salve than a good old fashioned snot fest; but before the tears flow, set a time limit and a timer and then when the timer goes off, dry your tears and then transition into another mood enhancing activity. I hope these tips are helpful and that you will add them to your arsenal of empowering and encouraging activities that you call on whenever your inner critic rears her ugly head and begins hurling insults and accusations or listing your failings. *Bonus– record yourself reading several affirmations, scriptures or quotes and add them to your arsenal. Smile as you record them and fill your voice full of life, love and joy so that when you need a quick pick me up you can encourage yourself with your own words. Remember the goal is the make sure that the words you speak wrap themselves around you in a loving and supportive embrace and don’t resemble the picture above. ~Chiquandra