By Kristena Eden
Life can bring so many challenges and hard times. These challenges even seem impossible to bear and impossible to find
a way to peace or happiness. We have an overwhelming day, week or even life. It can so easily cause us to spiral down.
Victor Frankl is a prime example of a hard life. (Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor). His famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it. He went on to later establish a new school of existential therapy called logotherapy, based in the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances.
His book is a journey through empathy and the great desire to rise above our current status. If there is a purpose to our struggles, then we can survive and take what we have learned and share it with others who are feeling trapped. The world so needs us to survive and reach out.
So, if Victor Frankl believed that we needed to find the good in our lives lets first look at our negative self-talk or even thoughts. In my practice as a therapist, I have had many clients comment that you can’t erase all the bad things in my life by just pretending they never happened. Does that sound familiar? It definitely feels that way when you are in the middle of all the pain. Buried alive never to breathe again.
Yet, in reality, what is happening is they are forgetting all the good things that have happened in their lives because they are so focused on the bad. Our subconscious mind does remember dramatic memories better. They create a lot stronger imprint on the mind than the more pleasant memories. The subconscious mind is faster and more automatic, yet the conscious mind is stronger. So yes, it takes more effort to remember the good things. Yet it’s the good memories that make life worth living.
I really don’t know how a radio works. It has different radio waves so that if you turn the dial the waves will connect to whatever station you are wanting. The human mind is the same way. It emits different wave lengths. Does that sound a little strange? The emotions and thoughts of love and concern emit very different waves than those of anger and depression. Have you ever been around people that are negative thinkers? They are like emotional vampires. They can zap the energy right out of you. They zap the energy out of themselves.
The following concerns, diseases or health problems have been linked to negative self-talk and negative thinking:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Shorter life span
- More physical pain
- More illnesses
- Lower cardiovascular health
- More cancer
- More infections
- Fewer coping skills during hardships
- More stress and related illnesses.
- Fewer friends
- Struggling relationships
- Less productive at work or home
- Cannot always see new opportunities that could come their way.
- The constant feeling of hopelessness.
Research continues to explore the effects of positive and negative thinking upon our life and happiness. So far knowing what we know can give us great insight to be more motivated to change our thinking.
Knowing how all of this affects us and those around us, what can we do about it? Is it really too hopeless or pointless to try and change our thinking? That depends on how much we want a better life!!!
Our brain remembers everything we tell it. So, if we have told it a negative story all day it will send out those particular waves to the rest of our body and to all people around us. The brain does not know what is true or not, it just goes with what we tell it. Why not tell it something good and positive? That is easier to live with. It really is our choice. Let’s tell it the good that has happened to us. Let’s tell it about the people we love.
Whatever we practice during the day is what we keep. The rest of our thoughts that we don’t use gets covered with C1q protein and when you sleep this protein is washed away. This is called synaptic pruning. That way you just keep what you practice. In order to be happier, heathier, and more productive, practice the good things in your life.
We all have good things no matter how small. Practice them and then they will grow.
How to stop negative self-talk:
- Always be aware, catch yourself saying negative things about yourself. Then look for the one good thing that came with it.
- Give your critic a name. If you catch yourself in negative self-talk, tell the voice to be quiet.
- Find a slightly better feeling. Before you express your negativity, choose a different perspective.
- Think like a friend.
- Say it out loud to yourself. Does it sound right?
- Know the truth. What is the other side of the story?
- Use your affirmations. Who do I want to become?
It is possible to change those negative voices into positive voices. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice. Here is a list of things to think about and be aware ask yourself if they are they part of your life?
- Identify areas to change.
- Check yourself.
- Be open to humor.
- If others are critical learn from it. Is what they say partially true, and you need to change or is it coming from their fear, and you can let it go?
- Follow a healthy lifestyle. Food and exercise.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Get out in nature more often.
- Practice and practice some more at being positive, especially to yourself!!
“Don’t watch your inner turmoil but turn your gaze to what is waiting for you. What counts is not what lurks in the depths, but what waits in the future, waits to be actualized by you….
What man needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”
If you are feeling stuck, please reach out for help.
Take the free assessment HERE and it can tell you what subconscious thoughts you are living.
You can do this one step at a time. Please don’t wait. Find some peace and happiness now.