Candle self-talk: How your thoughts shape your life.

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Neuroscience research has relatively recently published findings that are relevant for the classroom.

That the  brain can be manipulated.

That IQ isn’t fixed.

That mindset is powerful.

Many people, including children, don’t realise that we control our thoughts, not the other way around.

People don’t know that the more you think something, the more it manifests itself.

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They may also not be aware of the thoughts that they think. The ones that have become so automated and habitual, they aren’t even noticed any more without careful metacognitive training.

And it’s highly likely that hardly anyone you know will recognise their addiction to negative thinking.

Thinking negatively is seductive. It may cause us to complain, and in the process receive sympathy and understanding from those around us.

Obsessing and looping “poor me” contemplations allows you to let go of responsibility for your life. It gives you a reason, an excuse, for not making a change.

I’m not saying you should try and suppress these thoughts. Burying them does not make them disappear.

Instead, you have to face them, challenge them, and move on.

Firstly, pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t berate yourself for thinking bad ones- this is normal, and can be changed.

Even the most self-confident and optimistic people have negative thoughts. But what separates them from the crowd is how much time they indulge these thoughts for, and how they choose to act in response.

When an unhelpful thought crops up, try one of the following strategies.

  1. Swap it: if you’re plagued with a negative self-image, swap your thoughts to more positive self-talk. If you think you’re not smart enough, remind yourself of all of your achievements. If you think someone is being unfair, think about what kind of a day that person may be having, or all of the times they were kind to you. Try not to take things personally, 95% of the time it’s not about you.
  2. Share it: when you are stuck in a spiral of anxiety or fear, carefully select a wise and objective friend who you can share your negative thoughts with. Have that person talk some sense into you!
  3. Switch it: if one negative thought becomes another and then another, and you feel like you can’t escape, switch it. Stop, breathe, then switch the soundtrack in your head by going for a walk in the fresh air, reading a favourite poem or quote, or doing a meditation.
  4. Scribe it: when you can’t move past your anger or your grief, write your thoughts in a journal. Scribble them all down. Blog! https://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/why-i-write/ When you take a look the next day you are almost guaranteed to see things differently. Time heals.
  5. Speculate: when worries paralyse you, think “what’s the worst that could happen?” and “will this matter a year from now?” This can help you to gain perspective, to know that life goes on and that this, too, shall pass.
  6. Ssshhh: no manner how tempting, and even in jest, never, EVER vocalise put-downs about yourself. Your subconscious is listening, and taking notes. Alternatively, repeat mantras like “I am worthy. I am valuable. I am unique.”
  7. Strategise: if you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, make a list, devise a plan, outline a strategy that will get you focused on the way forward rather than where you currently are.
  8. Serendipitise: remember all those times that you wished for something to happen and later on, realised that it NOT happening actually led to a better outcome? Consider that things happen for a reason. And form a part of the world’s greatest mystery: life!

So, tomorrow, what thoughts from your closet of thought garments will you choose to wear?

Don’t put on that dull, drab, fraying uniform just because it’s comfortable.

Pick that sparkly, glittery, bright pink and purple number. Switch things up! And see how it makes you feel.

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11 comments

  1. This is so true. I’m really struggling to find time for myself lately but i made a decision to join a gym and commit to at least two classes a week. The fact that gym memberships aren’t cheep really helps get me out the door and forces me to take the time for myself.

    It’s like a magic trick. Now all of a sudden I’ve gone from no time to myself to a few hours a week. Nothing changed except my brain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by Jess, and I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve been able to “change your brain” to allow more time for yourself to be a happy and healthy individual- and no doubt a better Mum because of it. The best kind of magic 😀

      Like

  2. William James, an author and Psychologist around the year 1900 said ‘The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” A very interesting thing to be thinking about in our dealings with young people – (and something for my wife to keep in mind when I occasionally, accidentally, eat the last piece of chocolate).

    Liked by 2 people

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