Most of us are familiar with it. Some of us refer to it as our “conscience”, others refer to it as “mindtalk”. I’ve also heard it called, “the voice inside your head”. Whatever you decide to call it, the point is that we all have it. Whether you know about or care about it doesn’t matter – it’s there feeding you all of the baggage you’ve accumulated from past experiences.
The importance of this voice all depends on how it has been conditioned to speak to you. In my case, having experienced a high amount of abuse as a child, the voice might communicate extremely negative thought patterns – it has been conditioned from past experiences to “protect” itself form harm so that I don’t voluntarily experience that same type of harm in the future.
On the other hand, my wife has grown up in a very loving, supporting family environment. I notice that some of the issues/problems that I struggle with, might not prove to be a large problem to her, or she might have a more positive outlook towards solving that problem. And I also notice that because of her upbringing, she might “play it safe” in certain circumstances, where I may jump right in without a 2nd thought.
No matter what patterns we have developed from our past experiences, the point is that we all must live with these thought patterns. Whether good or bad, we all have tendencies to avoid listening to our voices because it might be telling us something that feels uncomfortable. When is the last time that you listened to your inner voice? What did it say to you? Were you able to accurately hear what it was saying?
If so, that’s great!
But for others who are not able to catch the words being delivered, I would like to share with you some ideas that I’ve used more recently to help me capture exactly what my mind is saying to me.
For me the issue was slowing down and taking the time to listen in “slow motion”.
What does this mean?
It means that, instead of trying to take only a few minutes and physically “listen” to what your mind is saying, you sit down and write down each of your thoughts.
If you write in your journal on a regular basis, you are already physically writing down your thoughts, although you might not be doing it consciously. The difference with the method I am describing is that you slow down with each individual thought and ask yourself (your mind) questions – one at a time. If you have ever visited Steve Pavlina’s Website, he mentions this method in one of his Podcasts.
Think of it as “interviewing your mind”. You simply ask your mind a question, and then you write out the first response that rises to the surface.
For example, I recently felt very guilty for taking on too much work which has prevented me from completing projects in a timely manner. Normally, if I’m not listening closely to my thoughts I would try to work on all the projects at once without any direction, in an attempt to “get it all done”. Or I might have additional thoughts that try to criticize me for not taking action earlier. Or I might even go and eat a lot of food in an attempt to avoid having to deal with the issue.
So I began asking myself every morning before starting my projects:
Q. How do you feel about the workload today?
A. I feel extremely guilty right now for not completing enough work for client x yesterday. I would like to take this exact step to move this project forward, even though it might not be completely finished.
Although you might find it odd to interview yourself, you will find that writing out your thoughts forces you to take control of the exact thought that exists RIGHT NOW. What would I have done if I hadn’t slowed-down and taken notice of this thought? Most likely I would have stressed myself out by rushing to work as fast as I could, in an attempt to offset my guilty feelings of not having work completed on time.
But listening to my exact thought at that moment allowed me to forget about everything else except what was most important. And once I took action on that small action item, I felt at least 15% to 20% better just from focusing on that one issue. There was no need to worry about the bigger issues, which would have only made me feel worse, getting nothing completed.
Try It For Yourself
I was really excited to share this information with you – I’m hoping that you find some use from it. The best part is that you can do this at anytime that you want, and you can also write about ANYTHING you want. By just taking the time to slow down and write out each thought, you are using laser beam focus to address the issue at hand, instead of allowing your mind to control the situation and avoid the issue.
Best of luck –