Taking a friendly attitude towards yourself is really important according to Pádraig O’Morain. As the wear and tear of COVID continues, it’s important to be kind to ourselves. The research is very clear, a friendly attitude towards ourselves really helps our mental health.
Easy to underestimate the strain of COVID
It’s very easy to underestimate the strain of COVID. Cooped up all day with people, or maybe being totally alone. Zoom calls replace face to face meetings and while great for keeping in touch, they are incredibly tiring. After an hour long meeting I feel drained. I have one friend who gets really bad migraines after long Zoom calls.
Critic in our head
So it’s important not to start berating ourselves when we don’t get as much done as we want. That little voice in our head, kicks off saying we’re not good enough, or we’re lazy or we never do anything right. So then it’s easier to hit the bottle to silence the critic in our head. Yet, we would n’t speak to our best friend so critically, so why do we speak to ourselves like that?
Notice your internal voice
So it’s really important to notice and be aware of that voice in your head. What is it saying? Every time that harsh little voice kicks off
“You should have done this” or
“you should have done that”
imagine yourself putting tape across the mouth of that voice and, silencing it.
The voice is so strong, it’s hard to hear
For some people, this voice is so strong and such a part of them, it can be really hard to actually hear the negative messages. Imagine if you’ve always lived in darkness, you can’t understand what living in the sun is like, because you’ve never experienced it.
For people who have grown up with an internal critical voice or family trauma, it can be really hard to see the sun. Science shows their brains have a different less effective way of dealing with life.
Listen to your body
So if this is you, start paying more attention to how your body is feeling. Are you feeling tension in a particular part of your body? Many people feel tension or fear in their stomach. Becoming aware of this tension and taking a couple of deep breaths as we described here can help release this tension
Relaxing like this, then allows the thinking part of your brain to hear the critical inner voice and challenge it.
It takes practise
Many people who are drinking too much become very self-critical. Society does not help either as we’re sold misleading stories about wonderful alcohol but then blame people who drink too much. So it takes lots of practise to be aware of how our bodies are feeling and to silence that inner critical voice.
Take a friendly attitude
So if at first you don’t succeed or are finding it tough, take a friendly attitude towards yourself. Tell yourself you’re great for trying and keep practising. Eventually you’ll succeed.