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The Voice Inside Your Head Is Playing with You

The Voice Inside Your Head Is Playing with You

When LeBron James talked about his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat back in 2010, he was met with a barrage of negativity. People burned his jersey. Longtime fans turned on him.

    Leborn was able to create distance from the situation simply by changing how he talked about the situation,[1]

    I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James, and what LeBron James was going to do to make him happy.

      He was facing a negative situation and the negative reactions of fans, but he was able to use positive words to explain his decision. If he would have responded to the negativity directly by saying, “yes I’m sad that people burned my jersey, it makes me feel unappreciated and vulnerable”, the situation and the negativity would have grown worse.

      The critical voice inside our head

      Most don’t realize it, but as we go about our daily lives, we are subconsciously interpreting every situation that arises–both big and small. We have an internal voice inside our mind that shapes our perception about what we are experiencing.

      Some of our internal conversations can be negative, unrealistic, self-defeating and self-deprecating. We say things like, ‘I’m going to fail for sure’, or ‘I didn’t do well. I’m hopeless. I’m useless.’

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      Negative self-talk can come from:

      • A bad mood that stirs up negative thoughts.
      • The habit of being overly critical which may stem from your childhood.
      • Pessimism and always expecting the worst.
      • Negative past experiences and the persistent belief that history repeats itself.
      • Fear, anxiety, worries, depression and the different kinds of psychological problems that feed and perpetuate negative thinking.

      The consequences of negative self-talk builds over time. Each time you engage in negative self-talk, you shoot yourself an arrow. Each arrow by itself is fairly insignificant. But over time, it can break you. Repeatedly berating yourself and believing the worse slowly sabotages you.

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            Thinking of yourself as clumsy, a loser, ugly , stupid, insignificant or worthless is an indicator that your self-talk is negative and you may be slowly orchestrating your own demise. Internal negativity makes you see yourself as irreparably flawed, inadequate or incompetent and as a result your self confidence is diminished.

            Seeing yourself as hopeless, blaming yourself whenever something goes wrong or dwelling on worst-case scenarios are all examples of exaggerated, negative thought patterns. And this kind of distorted thinking can cause you to spiral downward until you’re so far down you are unable to see or imagine anything positive.

            Negative self-talk reinforces any irrational ideas you already have. Each time you mentally rehearse negative phrases, you strengthen those irrational beliefs and perceptions. And with time, your negativity gathers the strength to cripple–and in some cases– even kill you.

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            Ridding yourself of negative self-talk

              Replacing a negative mindset with a positive one requires slow and methodical effort. Here are a few steps that can help you recognize, stop and replace negative thoughts with positive ones:

              1. Identify the times negative self-talk arises.
              2. Identify what triggered those thoughts.
              3. Counter your negative thoughts with positive–factual ones.
              4. Create yourself a script that you can use to counter negative thoughts as soon as they arise.

              When thoughts such as “I am worthless” arise, counter them with more realistic thoughts such as “my kids need me” or “my colleague values my work.” Each time you counter negative statements with positive facts, your negative thoughts lose power.

              Try to view each situation objectively, like an outsider looking in and then try to determine what is best for that person (you) in that situation, similar to what Lebron James did.

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              Repeating this cycle over and over trains your mind to seek out and focus on the positive. And slowly positive thoughts will become your default. You have power over how you precieve life and how you interact with it. The first step in being fulfilled and achieving your goals begins by training that small voice in your head to speak positivity.

              Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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              Anna Chui

              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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              Last Updated on September 18, 2019

              If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

              If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

              Think of the last time your bought something you really wanted. How did you feel afterwards? It felt good.

                Now, is there something else you really want? Maybe a new laptop, smartphone, or some nice clothes. Buying that thing, whatever it is, will bring you happiness. When you finally have it, you will be excited to try it out.

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                      As cliche as it says “money can’t buy happiness,” we feel happy when we buy the things we want. Why is that?

                      The Real Reason Why You Are Happy When You Buy Stuff

                      Human beings are hardwired to seek instant gratification. You’ve probably heard the phrase instant gratification hundreds of times. To get that thing we want, the moment we want it. This desire for instant gratification came to us as a survival mechanism. I’m not going to talk about instant gratification in details here, if you want to find out more about it, take a look at 5 Ways to Get Over Approval Addiction and Instant Gratification.

                      While instant gratification is in human’s nature, we live in a society driven by delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the desire for something but the inability to get it when you want. In our society, you have to wait for your pay day, your meal at a restaurant, your coffee at Starbucks. When the thing you want finally arrives, you get excited.

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                        Your excitement for this thing, the delayed gratification often elicits stronger emotional responses in you than when you get it. This feeling comes from dopamine a chemical that influences the pleasure centers in our brains.[1] When you become excited for something, you are actually enjoying a release of dopamine into our system. The thing you are actually excited for is almost secondary to it.

                        Think about it, how did you feel a couple hours after buying something you waited a long time for? It was probably not nearly as good as when you first got it, or when you’re waiting to get it. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature.

                          In this way the happiness you feel isn’t true happiness. In fact, biologically speaking, you’re just enjoying a blast of dopamine. When this blast of dopamine is gone, you want something new again, which is secretly, more dopamine. This is what that old saying “money can’t buy you happiness” really means.

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                          There is, however, a way in which money can buy you happiness. It’s just not in a way you think.

                          An Alternative to Buying Happiness

                          Recently Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA conducted a study where two groups of people were given $40 each.[2] One group was told to spend it in buying a possession, an object, something they wanted. The other group was told to spend it in ways that would enable them to have more free time, for example, having food delivered to save them from cooking, or hiring a cleaner, instead of cleaning their house themselves. When each participant in the study were to measure their happiness to a 10 point scale, those who spent their money on more free time were almost always one whole point ahead of those who spent their money on stuff.

                          In a sense, they were happier because they brought themselves out of doing something they didn’t want to do. Just buying more stuff, in the long run didn’t have much of an affect on their happiness, when those who spent money on time found an increase in life satisfaction.

                          It was the free time that made people happy.

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                            It was the quality time that contributed more to their happiness, the money was just a tool they used to get more time. But the money ultimately is unnecessary. All that is required is a re-adjustment of how you measure time.

                            Everyone has 24 hours a day. The life expectancy for females is 81.2 years; for males, it’s 76.4 years. Most people have more or less the same time of living. To make every hour, or minute count is the way to create your own happy time. If you are always feeling busy and don’t think you have enough quality time for yourself, you need to make a change to turn things around.

                            To be truly happy, make quality time a true value in your life. Find out how to do so in my other article How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

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                            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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