How to Release Your Inner Critic so You Can Stay Positive
Author:NeuroGym Team |2018
Have you ever noticed the variety of voices inside your head? Sometimes you feel encouraged, but sometimes you scare yourself out of doing something spectacular?
We all naturally have neural impulses that motivate us to take action, and also ones that keep us from taking the wrong action. If you aren’t getting the results you want in life, chances are you’re letting the wrong impulse circuit determine your behavior.
There’s a checks-and-balances system in your brain that regulates itself. You have a crazy idea, assess the risks and potential rewards, and then decide how you feel about actually doing the thing.
Mark Waldman, a neuroscience expert, recently shared—during a Facebook Live event with John Assaraf—what goes on in the brain when it comes to desire and motivation. The impulse to seek out your passions originates in the nucleus accumbens, a small region in the brain. Next, your brain instantly starts showing you possible scenarios that could occur, both positive and negative.
Your prefrontal cortex, the front area of your brain, is activated when you start using your imagination.
Your brain is hardwired to prevent you from any harm, whether physical or emotional. Because of this, humans are naturally averse to taking risks. The negative voice in our head often tells us that we won’t succeed . . . So why bother?
The same complex, internal system that keeps you walking on the sidewalk instead of jumping in front of oncoming traffic can sometimes also prevent you from accomplishing your goals. In addition to avoiding the potential threat of a car hitting you, you may also be avoiding possible loss, or embarrassment if you take a risk and fail.
To deal with your inner critic, it helps to disassociate yourself from the voice.
Instead of identifying with your inner critic, give it an identity of its own! Personify the critical voice inside of your head: give it a name, an appearance, a distinguishing personality. Draw a picture of it and post it somewhere in your office, on the refrigerator, or to the bathroom mirror.
See how it’s something outside yourself? Hear how it’s not really your voice? Recognize how different it is from who you are.
Rick Carson developed the concept of the Gremlin in his book, Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting out of Your Own Way, as our inner voice that rejects change and demands the status quo. This is the same inner voice that encourages procrastination and perfectionism.
Whatever you want to call it: your gremlin, your inner critic, your manipulative saboteur, or your negative self-talk . . . it's one of the main reasons you stay stuck in your comfort zone . . . fearful to move forward in life so you can achieve your goals and dreams.
And the only way out of the critical voice in your head is through it. If you want to release your inner critic, recognize that what it says isn’t true. Learn how to activate your inner genius and gain the perspective to make healthy decisions.
Do this Innercise® whenever you feel trapped in a loop of negative thoughts.
Step 1:Take a deep breath and relax.
Step 2:For about 15 seconds, let yourself focus on the voice of your inner critic, and feel all of the corresponding emotions.
Step 3.Now, focus on a positive thought. Imagine a possible future scenario that’s extremely positive.
Step 4:Focus your awareness on the fact that both of those thoughts originated in your brain.
When the brain gets fixated on a negative thought pattern, it can be hard to separate yourself from the thought. The best thing you can do is to zoom out a little and see a broader range of your reflections and ideas.
Rather than remaining focused on your immediate reaction to what’s going on in your head, lift yourself out of your "mind chatter" . . . and observe your emotional response.
Remember, you're not your thoughts, and you can choose what to believe.
The best way to deal with this situation is to be aware of it. It’s futile to get upset or angry with yourself, right? All parts of the brain are necessary and work together.
Now that you know what's up . . . notice whenever you're thinking negatively or reflecting on a potential threat. Use this Innercise anytime you need to shift your perspective . . . and create something remarkable from both the positive and negative.
This exercise will help you upgrade your mindset for success and train your brain to behave the way you want. And after consistent practice with this Innercise, you’ll find that your brain naturally presents both sides of an issue to your conscious awareness.
To learn even more about how to train your brain for success, join us for the Brain-A-Thon training with leading neuroscience and success experts.
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About The Author
NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.