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One Of The Best Ways Is To Get Off Social Media
Our inner critic wants us to believe that everyone is better than us and that the world is bad. Backing off our use of social media can help tame those thoughts. Getting off of social media and turning off the news is harder for some of us than most addictions. That’s because the rush of dopamine we get from The Little Bill when we get notified or wanting to fit in by keeping up-to-date on what’s going on in the world helps us to feel like we fit in. What it actually does to us is amplify the cognitive distortions in our thinking.
The more negative things we hear from the news, the more we believe something bad is going to happen. It is the proverbial vicious cycle where we find everything we’re looking for. If you believe something is bad everything you see is going to be bad and when we stop social media and stop watching the news, our mind clears out and we can think more positively about the world and not have to look at it in such a bad way. And I’m not saying nothing bad ever happens. What I’m saying is we can’t change it. We can’t stop it. So we don’t have to worry about it.
Tell Your Inner Critic Something Positive
Another option is to leave yourself messages on Post-it notes or three-by-five cards. I have a Post-It note in front of my monitor that asks “how is your thinking?” Another way is to write down every negative thought you think about yourself or say to yourself. This method really forces you to look at what you’re thinking most of the time. Either of these two methods can help you think about what you’re thinking during the day.
Take Time For Yourself
Meditation helps calm the inner critic. At the start of the pandemic, my wife and I were supposed to go to Europe on a Viking Cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. They stopped all flights two days before we were supposed to leave. I won’t say I was a wreck, but I wasn’t happy. So I found an online meditation group, and I joined it. I use an app called Insight Timer and according to it I had taken time to meditate 47 days between January 2017 and March 2020. Since that day, I have meditated almost every day and it has been one of the things I can attribute to changing the way I think.
One of the best books that I have read on meditation is 10% happier by Dan Harris. If you have tried meditation and it didn’t work because you couldn’t tame your thoughts, Harris’s book is a practical guide for what you can expect when you meditate. He also takes potshots at the popular meditation gurus so that satisfies another need of mine. But I digress.
Meditation isn’t about becoming uber-peaceful. I meditate in silence for ten minutes and most of that ten minutes is just thoughts running through my head. When I realize something is running through my head, I can come back to Center by focusing on my breathing or focusing on my meditation word. I can let go of the things, the constant stream of thoughts that I’m having. So I want to encourage you to try meditation to tame your thoughts. If you decide to give it a chance, commit to do it every day for six months. Two minutes of guided meditation for six months will fly by. I love to use Insight Timer to track my meditation, because I can connect with other people who are meditating, and it has a lot of options for guided meditation.
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