Posts from the ‘Negative thinking’ category

We’ve all got one…. An Inner Critic. That little voice in our heads that is really, really, really mean sometimes. It might get louder during periods of stress, disappointment, personal failure, or when we are down. It’s there, judging, comparing, assessing every little aspect of our experience. The consequence of believing our inner critic is often worse mood and a narrowing of behaviours that would make us feel better (i.e., feeling stuck).

Getting to know your inner critic dialogue is one of the most important things we can do in order to reclaim our power over it. Asking ourselves: When does it get louder?
What are it’s top 5 favourite critical statements? Does it like to tell us that we are failures, that our relationships are troubled, or that our future is doomed?

The fact is that we all have an inner critic. IT IS NORMAL. But how we relate to our inner critic- or how much we believe what it tells us – will be a big factor in determining the status of our mental health and well-being.

To begin to track down the inner critic dialogue, we notice when we’ve been triggered and go write it down. The first exercise I give my clients in my practice is a worksheet with the headings Situation, Feelings, and Thoughts.

Ok so step one is to become familiar with inner critic dialogue… Step 2 involves applying CBT techniques to begin to challenge the truth and helpfulness of believing these self-critical statements (stay tuned for future posts on these techniques!).

Check out the Resources Section for the Thought and Mood Tracking Form if you want to try to catch some of your own inner critic dialogue. Happy Inner Critic hunting!

Untwist your thinking by “putting your thoughts on trial”. This is a very useful CBT technique where we actually look for evidence that DOES and DOES NOT support our negative thought. Writing this out can help to shed some light on how truthful and/or helpful the thought is.

Take for example you did poorly on a test, and you were saying to yourself “I always fail and now I’ll never get into the profession I want.” Evidence you might want to look at would be how many times have you failed in the past? How many times have you passed tests? Does this test mean that you’ll fail the entire course? How much is this test worth of your entire mark? Does it really have an impact on whether or not you complete the course/graduate and fulfill your future ambitions? In six months will you still believe this thought to be true? What about in one year? What about in five years? Is it true that people who are successful in their professions have never failed or done poorly on tests?

Try out the Thought Record/Examining the Evidence worksheet in the Resources section when you get hooked by your next negative thought. It can be challenging when you first start to find evidence that isn’t based on your emotions. But try to stick to the facts just like a lawyer or a detective. And see how looking at these facts might change your perspective even a little bit!