Monday, May 19, 2014

Three pieces of advice

My mother in law once told me about three things that had helped her get through rough patches in life.
1. Never say I am tired
2. Never say I can't do it
3. Never say I am bored

Sounds simple when you hear them for the first time. But, when I began counting the number of times I said, I was tired or bored or that I couldn't do it, I was taken aback. Then I began to observe what these statements did to my thoughts and how they affected my behavior. I found to my utter surprise that I began to feel those feelings with a much higher intensity every time I said it out loud.

As we go through our daily ups and downs, these three statements can help us avoid reinforcing our negative emotions that would otherwise send us on a downward spiraling path. I was struggling with my undesirable emotions last week and when I stopped saying I couldn't do it and started telling myself that I am strong enough to handle anything that comes my way, I felt empowered and energetic to carry on.

These three statements are an example of how to sidestep negative self talk that could be detrimental to our mental health. But does that mean we should not acknowledge our sadness or disappointment or fatigue or boredom. Not at all. It is important to be aware of our emotions. However be warned that the next logical consequence of emotional awareness is indulging in them and wallowing in self pity. That is where we need to draw the line. Positive self talk will alleviate the mental stress and also nudge you towards solution seeking, which by its very nature will decrease your negativity.

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