Moving Away from Negative Self-Talk (and Toward LOVE)

Moving Away from Negative Self-Talk (and toward LOVE) | Intention Daily

How often are we judgmental toward ourselves? We can be hard on ourselves about a great number of things. One thing we are particularly consistent at being judgmental about is our appearance. I think most everyone can relate in some capacity and what I’d like to share is how I move away from the negative self-talk.

The self-loathing includes but is not limited to hating our skin, hating the size of our feet, the fat around our belly, or the cellulite in our thighs. This applies to everyone – all shapes and sizes. To some degree, we are all familiar with negative body image, and verbally beating ourselves up.

The thing that gets me the most is that while getting lost in this verbal attack on myself, I start to feel physically ill.  My body temperature rises, nausea sets in, maybe even a headache. And how often do we try to fix this with a bowl of cereal, a Hershey kiss, or an extra diet soda? How often do we turn to food for comfort, as if any of this will magically make all of our imperfections disappear? Or at the very least we try to distract ourselves for the 30 seconds it takes to devour that chocolate kiss.

I have battled with this for years. However, after years of practice, I’m much better at putting my internal bullies to rest. Trust me, I know what it feels like – when your mind really goes for a ride, telling yourself things you wouldn’t DREAM of saying to anyone else. So, how do we stop it?

Let’s compare the obsessive negative self-talk result of feeling physically low to when I get a migraine. Neither one feels good and yet I am very familiar with both. With migraines I know that there are things I need to avoid such as eating tomato sauce and doing too many chaturangas in yoga. I choose to avoid these things because I know the ramifications are just terrible. The same thing happens with this negative self-talk. I will start to go down the road of putting myself down, whether it be in the swimming pool, in front of a mirror, or even out to dinner. However I know that if I stay on this road and keep bashing myself, I’m going to feel terrible both mentally AND physically. I want to avoid this result so I have trained myself to turn around and run away from the negativity.  In order to do this I picture I am stopping myself in my tracks, IMMEDIATELY. Imagine you are running to catch a bus, and all of a sudden you realize you forgot your wallet at home and have to stop short immediately. What do you do? You turn around … and run in the other direction!

I remind myself of how horrible it feels to go down that path of self-criticism. In order to “turn in the other direction”, I will say positive affirmations to myself. This can feel corny and really challenging at first but, the more I do it (ex: “You are strong and stunning!” or “I am enough”) the easier it becomes. It is like training a muscle: everything shakes and hurts at first but the more you strengthen it, the more work it can do.

This may sound simple, so much so that you are thinking “it’ll never work.” And trust me, there are multiple practices I use to combat these internal bullies. But give it a try and start to train yourself out of that path of self-doubt and run toward love.

How do YOU deal with negative self-talk? Do you have any strategies you call upon? If so, I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.

Maggie is a yoga instructor and health coach based out of New York City and Norwalk, CT. She completed her 200 hour yoga training through Aloka Life in 2007 and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Maggie started practicing yoga at age 17, tagging along with her mom when she went to the gym and trying every class they offered. She initially found the movements similar to what she knew from dance, but then soon discovered that yoga cut out the crap of looking in the mirror and constantly evaluating yourself, i.e. judging yourself. In college she became a regular at a local studio and immediately after graduating she put her Art History and French double major to good use and started her teaching training. A constant learning process, yoga transformed Maggie’s life and continues to do so. It gave her the courage to do things she never thought she was capable of – like signing up for triathlons and road races and eventually completing one of her biggest dreams: Ironman Lake Placid. Another one of Maggie’s dreams is to encourage anyone and everyone to get a little bit of yoga into their life. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, 5 minutes after a run, or taking a class … she is a firm believer that 10 minutes is better than no minutes!

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