3 Ways to Manage the Voices in Your Head

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You’ve set your daily and weekly priorities, you’ve defined your tiny action steps, but maybe still feel stuck and thwarted by the chatter in your mind saying things like:

  • “You’ll never achieve that.  You’re not good enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, disciplined enough – just not enough, period.”
  • “Who do you think you are? You’ve never done this before.  What makes you think you can do this?”
  • “You don’t deserve that – you’re a rotten person, and here are several examples of your rotteness, going back to the third grade.”
  • “You’re a fraud.  You don’t know what you’re talking about. People will see right through you.”

In acupuncture, there’s a point at the top of the head called the “Hundred Meetings.”  Even if you know nothing about acupuncture, you still know exactly what the “Hundred Meetings” feel like when they’re happening in your mind.

Because we all have times when the voices in our head are loud and spectacularly unhelpful.

Interestingly, this point is stimulated in order to make a person more alert and present, as well as happier and more even-tempered.  Don’t we all want a little more of that?

But what if you don’t have an acupuncturist handy and your head is spinning?

Method 1:  Bop Yourself In the Head

 

Any time you’re feeling unfocused or stressed, try tapping the spot at the very top of your skull gently with your fingers.  You’re stimulating the “Hundred Meetings” point, and it should quiet down the internal chatter and help you concentrate more easily.

This is a great technique for quieting the monkey-mind.  You can make it even more effective by taking slow deep breaths into your abdomen and thinking, or saying out loud, a calming word like: “peace,” “calm,” or “gentle.”

Tapping on the “Hundred Meetings” point is a terrific thing to do before either of the next two techniques as well.


 

When the voices in your mind are mean and discouraging, then you’ve got to bring out the big guns.

Because those voices are liars.  

They can stop you from creating a life you love.  They can stop you from sharing your unique gifts with the world. And, if you believe them, they can make you very unhappy.  They impact your mood and your actions.

And you might believe them!

So how can we calm them down?

Method 2:  Let ’em Chat

 

Have a conversation with your inner voices.  In writing.  Just sit down with your journal, or the free download sheet here and let the voices have their say.

  • Write down all the reasons why what you are doing is terribly risky, and will never work.
  • Write down all the stories you tell yourself about how you cannot succeed at what you want to do.
  • All the ways the voices tell you you are inadequate.
  • All the excuses.
  • All the reasons.
  • All the things that will fall to bits if you actually succeed!

Now step away from your list.  Go for a walk around the block, put the laundry in the dryer, make yourself a cup of tea.  Feel the calm inside yourself.  Know that the voices are trying to keep you safe by keeping everything exactly as it is.  Thank them for their service and release them.

Now crumple the list into a ball and light in on fire (outside!)  Whether you read it over first is up to you.  As it burns, gently but firmly release your inner critical voices.

Note:  In my experience, you may need to repeat this exercise over time, or relating to new goals or projects.  But it’s very effective at opening up space for you to move forward right now in a calmer state of mind.

Method 3:  So What?

 

If you catch your inner critic talking to you while you’re working — your energy is ebbing, you’re starting to doubt yourself and the critic is starting in with “That’s weird.  No one will like it.  It’s not ______ enough,”  — just say “So what?”

So what if it’s weird?  So what if no one likes it?  So what if it’s not pink enough, or starchy enough or has too many toothpicks?  So what?  Who cares?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about the quality of your work, but if you are doing your best or trying something new and it’s not PERFECT – who cares?

Are you having fun?  Are you learning something?  Are you gettng a paycheck?  Are you honing your craft?  Honor yourself and your process.

Would love to hear how these techniques work for you, or if you have another technique you love, in the comments below.

 

 

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