by Sunny Simon

Clicking off the phone I glanced at the clock. My client and I had spent much of the session dealing with the gang of nasty gremlins in her head. No, she wasn’t hearing strange voices. You can probably relate if I call these nay-saying irritants by the common term of negative self-talk. Sounds familiar now, right? Yes, at times we all succumb to the power of our built-in saboteurs allowing them to bombard us with numerous reasons why we cannot accomplish our goals.

Beware dear reader. Giving an audience to these gremlins is dangerous business. It can damage self esteem. Our thoughts and actions during waking hours can be influenced when we continue listening to the chatter.

So what is the answer to ridding a round robin of pessimistic thoughts? First, get out of your head. Those gremlins can only bog you down only if you allow it. I read recently there is no off switch to negative self talk. I disagree. Who’s in charge here? You are of course. Ever walk out of a movie theater because the film was a total waste of time? Apply the same technique. Shift your focus. Redirect your thoughts by flipping on the radio and singing, reading a book or engaging in a challenging online game.

Inner critics are sneaky and try to go unnoticed. Learn to recognize the gremlin and think about labeling it by name. When Nellie the Nag shows up taunting you with thoughts like, “you can’t stick to your diet, you are totally lacking in will power, just give it up,” recognize it as destructive and try talking back. Replace the critical dialogue with positive statements or mantras and Nellie will get the message she has been replaced. Might sound a bit silly, but it is another technique that works.

You can also try writing out a negative statement on paper. (Use paper because it needs to be dramatically destroyed.) After you get a good laugh at how stupid the words look, take it to the nearest shredder or burn it proving the words have no power over you.

The bottom line is, there are many ways to beat the beast. In her book, “Think Forward to Thrive,” Jennice Vilhauer, PhD, offers many exercises that help overcome negative emotions. Vilhauer also discusses Future Directed Therapy (FDT) a relatively new psychotherapy.

This week develop a keen awareness of any negative thoughts bouncing around in your head. Rid them with a suggested technique. Most importantly, know that you deserve only positive and kind words to describe the real you.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog