We all have those two voices, you know the critical one that puts you down, tells you off and makes you feel bad, I call this the devil on your shoulder. The other one, the angel, is encouraging and sympathetic, kind and reasonable.
I remember “Tom and Jerry” and other cartoons that show this devil and angel on the shoulders battling it out, trying to tell tom or jerry what to do.
Well, that’s not too dissimilar to our own thought processes. Other names include
Devil – Angel
Critical – Compassionate
Emotional – Rational
We all have them, there isn’t one person who doesn’t have them. They can be exhausting to listen to especially if the conflict is of great importance. This is where rumination happens. – Rumination is central to depression/anxiety and is when these two parts of ourselves are at war, battling it out to win the argument. Lots of people struggle with this in stressful situations.
Let me tell you how you can manage this;
In short, I have learned to step back from the argument and learn to refocus my attention to sensations in the here and now (it’s called grounding) Grounding is choosing to use your senses to turn your attention away from the battle noise. It’s so simple yet takes time to master.
What can I see?
What can I hear?
What can I smell?
What can I touch?
What can I taste?
It is the basis for mindfulness practice. Grounding can be done anywhere anytime. Try it now..read it again and practice tuning away from your thinking to the senses. How did it go? Can you do it? Did you become distracted even doing this short exercise?
Remember even when our critic/ devil is shouting loudest we have the choice to tune out and tune into our senses. Give it a go next time and see if it helps. Daily practice makes it easier to do. The more time you spend training your ability to ground, the easier it gets like any exercise, brain memory has the same ability just like any other muscle memory like when you train with weights at the gym. Making time for this is important, you know that because you are reading this blog post. Give it a go, good luck!