Catch Yourself Being Good
The most powerful change strategy for children's behavior problems is the parents increasing the focus on positive behavior and reinforcing those behaviors. A powerful strategy of improving your mood and self-esteem is increasing positive self-talk. Human nature is such that most of us look for when we make mistakes and then be self-critical. Much of the time, that is automatic and under our awareness.
Begin NOW to monitor yourself for negative self-talk. Watch for negative things that others have repeatedly said to you, such as “You can't do ANYTHING right!” or “STUPID!” Throw those scripts away! Acknowledge that whoever said those things was WRONG, even if they may have had good intentions.
Awareness is the first step. The second is action.
Next, tell yourself things like “STOP calling yourself names!” and “STOP criticizing yourself!” Begin to replace the criticisms with statements like “Nobody's perfect,” “What have I learned so as to not make the same mistake again?,” etc.
Begin to monitor yourself for what you've done well, made progress, or completed. Become your own cheerleader and tell yourself things like “Good job!, “Great effort,” etc. As you work on a project that can't be completed in one setting, tell yourself that you made good progress for that episode.
If you find this to be difficult, consider starting by looking for positive things to say to others. (Even if this is easy for you, it is an excellent idea to increase compliments to others). As this gets easier with practice, as most things do, you will probably begin catching yourself doing some of the things that you are complementing others. Continue to compliment others and begin doing the same for yourself.
Making these changes will not give you a swelled head. Rather, doing so will decrease your stress, make you less susceptible to stress conditions (like headaches), and generally improve your mood.
Catch yourself being good! You'll be glad that you did.
Mike Miller, PhD
Copyright © 2008 - 2009. Michael Miller. All rights reserved.