It’s no fun to feel overwhelmed. When the world feels like a roller coaster ride, you’re more likely to slip into this emotionally flooded state of mind. At that point, you could focus on the underlying causes. More likely, you’re looking for a way — a quick way, ideally — to calm yourself and move forward. There’s no shortage of stress relief tips online but have you ever wonder how your inner critic plays into this process? In times of extreme stress, a negative internal monologue can escalate the anxiety. Therefore, it makes a whole lot of sense to address this reality.
What Role Does Your Inner Critic Play?
During those times when you feel overwhelmed by life, the last thing you need to someone chiming in to blame you for it. You already know you’re dealing with more than you can handle. “I told you so” reminders are definitely not necessary. However, that critical voice you hear can often sound an awful lot like your own voice. Yep, your inner critic is at it again.
It’s never fun to listen to but that voice seems to get louder and more persistent as you get stressed. This has to do with your mindset. As tension rises, events that are normally viewed as minor can slide into the “major” category.
The momentum shifts from calm or neutral into a building sense of aggravation or even panic. That’s usually when your inner critic decides to speak up. In your agitated state, you grow more and more frustrated with yourself and this cycle begins to feed off itself.
How to Overcome Overwhelm By Quieting Your Inner Critic
Don’t Try to Silence It
No one can silence their inner critic. But they can influence and persuade it. The first step in disarming the voice is to not ruminate over its false messages. You hear them but do not surrender to them.
Next, in this time of social distancing, practice self-distancing from the situations that inspire self-criticism. For example, you might think, “I forgot a neighbor’s name. I am so stupid.” Instead, replace the first-person vantage point: “You don’t really know that person so their name slipped your mind. It’s no reflection of your social skills.”
Find Your BFF Voice
How would you talk to a close friend, even when they’ve really messed up? Tap into that frame of mind and cut yourself the same slack you give to others. If you can display compassion to someone else, you are more than capable of practicing self-compassion.
Keep a Journal
If your inner critic makes an exaggerated declaration about your body, your intelligence, your finances, or whatever, write it down. Take away the power of these lies by examining them and holding them up to the light. Next, rebut the statements. Write a counterpoint next to each inner critic insult.
Take notice whenever you feel good about yourself or just happy at the moment. Replay these experiences in your head. Before going to sleep, highlight such moments as you take stock of the day’s ups and downs.
When Your Inner Critic Won’t Be Quiet
None of the above is meant to underestimate the power of your internal voice. You may find yourself feeling helpless against the critical monologue that gets louder as situations get trickier. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to “gang up” on that inner critic.
Recruit a second voice — in the form of a therapist — to help you better understand and control this phenomenon. Your regular counseling sessions can go a long way in counterbalancing this nagging self-criticism and give you much-needed relief when you already feel overwhelmed.
Let’s talk soon. please read more about anxiety and depression counseling. I am available for a consultation when you’re ready.
Getting Started With Anxiety Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado
We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with. We look forward to hearing from you!