This article is the second in a three-part series on how to understand and quiet negative voices in your head.
Through the series, we present help our readers understand negative voices in our heads, how and when such voices appear in our minds, techniques used by the MMSNorCal coaches to quiet the voices in their own minds, and why quieting these voices can help you in life, work, love, and parenting.
As mentioned in Part 1, Understanding Negative Voices in Your Head, such voices can be profoundly stress inducing and even extremely damaging to one’s mental and physical health.
Our amazing coaches offered a variety of techniques to quiet the negative voices in your head:
- Becoming self aware
- Calling on your rational, reasonable self
- Using meditation to quiet negative voices
- Working with a professional or life coach
So, let’s get started with quieting those negative thoughts and voices!
Becoming Self Aware
Coach Michelle Mueller Ihrig believes that Self Awareness is the first step to any desired change, for as the saying goes, we cannot change what we are not aware of.
Once she becomes aware of the negative voices, Coach Mueller Ihrig then changes her negative and self-critical inner dialogue to one that is supportive. She begins talking to herself like her own best friend and cheers herself on. There is an important neuroscience factor in this technique; research shows us that our brains and subconscious are constantly listening to the messages we send ourselves and our bodies respond to these messages.Therefore, when we change our language, we can change our life.
What we believe, we can become.
It is also helpful to speak to yourself verbally, if you can, as this is even more powerful than keeping the positive voices in our head.
Coach Mueller Ihrig also finds visual cues to be highly effective. She suggests that “posting positive quotes and affirmations around your home or office in spaces that you look at often can be highly supportive and incredibly powerful.”
Lastly, she adds, “I like to create a morning routine of waking up, giving myself a huge hug, speaking to myself kindly and in empowering terms. I then say things I am grateful for, like my healthy body, my family and the fresh air I get to enjoy.It sets the tone for the day and keeps negative voices at bay more often.”
Now if negative voices ever pop up, which Coach Lindsey Taylor-Vivier is happy to report is very seldom, she reasons with herself by asking the following questions:
- Is what the voice is saying true?
- Do I really believe that about myself?
- Where is the proof?
Coach LIndsey also checks in with her stress level, makes sure if she is taking care of herself, is doing what she knows is right for her, and finally, if she is living her life in integrity.
If the answer is no to any of those questions, the result could be a way for the negative voices to come out to let her know that she needs to find a way to get back on track.
Calling on Your Reasonable-Rational Self
Another interesting technique used by Coach Carla is to call on her reasonable-rational self “when the gremlins of my mind start whispering to me and recognize that they are voices that I don’t want to give a lot of space to. I don’t allow myself to go down the rabbit hole and believe what the voices are saying. I will call on my reasonable-rational self to take over and tell those negative or fearful voices that they aren’t telling me anything true.”
She adds that she finds meditation to be an amazing tool to bring her back to her true self.
And, finally, Coach Carla will reach out to supportive friends to get their perspective on the gremlin voices. She finds this perspective from close friends to be very helpful, especially when her friends tell her that her thoughts or experiences are normal. This feedback helps her to calm down significantly.
Verbal Processing with a Friend
Coach Sarah usually turns to the old standard – verbally processing with a trusted friend or her partner – to quieten the negative voices in her head.
She says, “By saying the words out loud, I start to move the depleting energy that is attached, and also usually receive some lovely insights or affirmations. I also turn to my yin energy of quilting and sewing. Replacing the voices with creative, positive thoughts, and working directly with my hands provides a calming reaction that may not happen by applying intellectual thoughts.”
Coach Muriel on hearing her inner negative voice begins physical and meditation routines. She says, “I lean into the physical somatic functional movement practices, also quieting my mind in meditation and restorative yoga. And, I listen to (dharma) talks from mindfulness teachers, such as Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Brene Brown, Oprah, Deepak, among others, on YouTube or on podcasts.”
Coach Hayden-Marsan also finds it helpful to have a daily meditation practice to keep the voices in her head from running amok. She finds that 20 minutes of meditation works really well for her, but has found that any amount of time, even 5 to 10 minutes of meditation, has value.
Having a daily meditation practice has enabled Coach Hayden-Marsan to have the space to notice when unwanted, negative thoughts arise.
Taking a Pause
Coach Hayden-Marsan also recommends taking “a pause from time to time. The pause is a conscious break from thinking and doing, where I focus on my breath for a few cycles. I may close my eyes, focus on the in and out breath and just enjoy the sense of freedom and relief from thinking.”
During these pauses, Coach Hayden-Marsan focuses on the cloud formations out of her window, or the leaves of a tree, or a scenic view. She suggests not labeling or judging the image, but more like allowing yourself to connect with it, to become one with it.
These practices and tools which help her stay centered and enable her to notice when the inevitable monkey mind comes into play, but when she does notice herself spinning mindlessly, she doesn’t beat herself up about it: she simply redirects herself, takes a breath or two, and brings her awareness back to the present moment.
Working with a Professional Coach
Coach Lindsey Taylor-Vivier says that before she took the MMS Coach Training and embarked on her personal growth journey which eventually led her to become a Life Coach, her negative voices were really the only voices she had in her head.
She says, ”I felt shame, inadequate, unintelligent, & unlovable. These negative voices would mostly come out at night before bed or if I woke up in the middle of the night…they apparently were night owls because they kept me up quite often! What I had to do to quiet them was to face them, to acknowledge them, understand how they got there and then heal them.”
The coach training not only helped her personally tremendously but also has allowed her to help others in their personal journeys.
In the third blog in this three-part series, how quieting negative voices in your head can benefit you and how professional coaches help their clients quiet these voices.
Michelle Hayden-Marsan is an artist and MMS NorCal certified professional Coach who works with parents, people in transition, and people in the creative arts to help them determine where they would like to be and support them on their journey. As an artist, Michelle creates unique pet portraits in a bold, graphic style. Her illustrations have appeared in Modern Dog Magazine and her paintings are seen in homes, pet stores and veterinary offices across the country. View pet portraits on her website at Michelle Hayden-Marsan Pet Portraits.