Battling the voices in our heads
There are a lot of different voices in our head - our mother reminding us to finish everything on our plate, our father - urging us to hurry up so we don't miss out, our teacher telling us that we are not living up to our potential and that bully from grade nine telling us we're fat and useless and we may as well give up.
There is also our own voice urging us to have a go, telling us to stop being stupid, to just talk to him etc.
In conversations with others I have discovered that there are other voices too.
Those of addictions - the voice of anorexia telling us to count calories, the alcoholic voice encouraging us to have a drink, just one, the ciggie voice - surely one a day won't hurt.
There are many voices, some helpful and some hurtful, but there is also a voice that wants to destroy us.
This voice tells us "I am no good", "I am not enough", "I am a loser" and even going so far as "there's no point to my life, I may as well go kill myself".
I find that most of us actually think all of these thoughts are our own.
This may be because they come packaged as "I am…" and so we automatically agree with what they are telling us.
But the good news is, that we get a choice.
We can choose to partner with the thoughts and they will grow strong and build infrastructure in our brain in which to function OR we can choose not to agree with them and interestingly, the research shows they will disappear as they are not yet hard wired into our brain!
Don't Sleep with Those Unhelpful Thoughts!
Have you ever taken the time to notice what you are thinking?
Maybe your thoughts have run similar to mine: "How did that blob of fat end up on the edge of my hip there - and why did I never notice it before; do you recon I could put a rocket booster on the back of my car and fly into my house like Captain Risky; will anyone ever really love me; what on earth will I make for dinner tonight - can't somebody write me a menu plan that includes gluten and dairy free and food I actually want to eat; surely it wouldn't matter if I ate another piece of that dark chocolate in the cupboard; I'm such an idiot for even suggesting that idea at work today - what will they think of me?
And that's just in one second. Our brain operates at 5-7 thoughts at any one time in our conscious mind but millions of thoughts are actively zinging around in our subconscious mind at any given moment.
Lots of our non-conscious thoughts were built before we turned eight and so as adults we may discover that they are old and possibly outdated.
As children, we are really good observers but not always so good at interpreting.
For example, the child that watches her parents argue and realises that it must be her fault.
Seems logical to a 6-year-old. But I've realised that she's been duped.
She's had a thought come into her mind, it wasn't helpful and it isn't true but she's fallen for it hook line and sinker and for the rest of her life she believes that problems in relationships are all her fault.
How many of these types of outdated and incorrect thoughts have we got circling our subconscious? I know I keep discovering them in my brain.
The great news is that when you uncover a thought and it makes its way from subconscious to conscious, the hormones released by our brain are ripe for change.
You can check if the thought is helpful, healthy or true?
And if not, don't agree with it, don't invite it into your brain to stay the night!
In fact, you can tell it to get out and replace it with something that is going to enhance your experience on earth.
Maybe something like "I'm loved" or my personal favourite "I don't have to be afraid."
Gretchen Mitchell is a wife, mother and psychologist among other things. She works part time in private practice counselling, runs wellbeing courses in schools and facilitates leadership training in numerous contexts.
Gretchen enjoys animated conversations,eating delicious curries and reading a good book. Find her on Facebook - search Lighthouse Leadership - Psychology & Training