When we grow up being punished and criticized, negative reinforcement becomes the only form of motivation we know. When we are brought up by tough teachers or parents who thought this was the best way, we can begin to actually fear and resist encouragement, praise and positive reinforcement.
By growing up with negative reinforcement, we begin to subconsciously and mistakenly associate all of our accomplishments with stress, pressure and panic. As we get older, we internalize this method of motivation and we become our own harshest critics. In reality, stress and pressure drain us of our energy and waste our time by worrying instead of working.
When we judge ourselves harshly, we end up judging everybody else harshly. When we are negative in our thoughts, we are often negative in our words and actions. When we are stressed, we more often get sick, tired, impatient and short tempered.
How we are motivated makes the way we work fall into two categories:
Number 1) We’re just trying to avoid getting yelled at by some mean enforcer type.
Number 2) We’re trying to impress someone we really admire and respect.
So, how do you want to speak to yourself? Just because you’re more familiar with the inner drill sergeant doesn’t mean it’s necessary to achieve your goals. Try being your own most loving, kind, patient, wise coach and see what happens. You may discover that work no longer feels like work, stressful situations become joyful, and you’re able to work longer and better because your inner voice is lifting you up instead of dragging you down.
Our minds are thinking machines, constantly jumping from thought to thought, constantly looking for something to overthink and obsess about. That’s what they do, it’s their job. A hand will do hand stuff and the mind will do thinking stuff.
But what happens when our minds get out of control? What happens when they no longer think the positive thoughts we wish they would? What happens when they only dwell on negative things like what could go wrong in the future and what has gone wrong in the past?
When that happens, here is what you can do:
1) Start practicing mindfulness in all your daily activities ( Read: Why Successful Leaders Start Their Day with Mindfulness)
2) Spend some time just being conscious and aware of your thoughts. (This meditation can help you in becoming more aware of your thoughts and calm your mind.)
3) Practice focusing your mind on the things you want to focus on (Perfectionism is a myth. Don’t let it demotivate you. Here’s how to overcome the curse of perfectionism.)
4) Change unconscious negative thoughts into conscious positive ones through intentional thinking. (Here’s how you can stop obsessing over regrets in life. If you feel like life didn’t go the way you hoped, that you could have done better or you could have been a better person, this podcast is for you.)
Guided Meditation to Stop Overthinking and Start Living
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