We’ve covered the initial step (*forgiveness*) towards being able to RELEASE the grip that this Gremlin has had on your life - your success, your dreams, your goals.
Now it is time to go over not just some techniques for ‘taming your gremlin’ (because let’s face it, if we could simply release it like a puff of smoke, we would have done that YEARS ago!)... But more importantly, we want to look at what we can replace it with.
Our minds do not like having an empty space, a void. In fact, if there is empty space, our minds will race to fill it (have you ever tried meditating? you’ll remember your early efforts felt like a constant ‘fight’ between the calm zen and the intrusive thoughts).
And just like learning to meditate, we need to PRACTICE creating space for new thoughts, actions, beliefs and behaviors.
And in order to do that, first we need to develop an awareness of the things we WANT vs. what we don’t want. (This is harder done than said, trust me!).
If we keep focusing on what we don’t want anymore, it’s pretty much like looking backwards while trying to ride our bike through traffic. Disaster!
Put pen to paper and write without judgement. Write about who you are without your Gremlins. Use the PRESENT TENSE - as if this reality is right now. This is a vision for you - one you are working towards. Be as specific as you can. Right down to what your morning will look like as you open your eyes without your Mind-Gremlin(s) annoying chatter.
This can be a single paragraph, or a book. But write as if it is true for you right now. How do you feel? What are you doing? What are you thinking? Who are you with? Visualize this dream reality. Use a guided meditation (there are gazillions online) to help you visualize if that helps. But get really concrete and specific about a life FREE from your Mind-Gremlins.
It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Now, to start creating that reality...
Focusing on what we want and who we want to be - without our Gremlins - is literally redefining ourselves. So it’s HUGE. Identifying the GOALS you wish to have for yourself is a fun and exciting project! And you KNOW that your Gremlins will try to sabotage these goals if they are allowed to stick around, because the idea of change brings up fear, and our Gremlins job has been to protect us from fear, right?
Other than having a crystal ball so we can see the future or magic wand to erase or change the past, the easiest way to override this fear is to stay firmly footed in the PRESENT.
This is achieved quite simply by staying Mindful.
Mindfulness techniques are aplenty - it’s possible (and recommended) to stay mindful doing just about everything: eating, sitting, walking, talking and yes, even during sex!
Being mindful is simply asking yourself to notice and be aware of where you are, what moment you are in, what is happening in the NOW. Like tuning in a radio station to exactly one spot where the reception allows for the clearest sound. That is what we are looking for. Because when we are fully PRESENT, there is absolutely no space for ANXIETY (which is the fear of something that hasn’t happened yet), and the type of FEAR that is not present (fears of things that might have happened in the past, phobic fears). For this discussion, ‘Real’ or ‘Present’ fear is something that is currently happening to trigger our fear response (like, a bear chasing you, being in an abusive or dangerous situation, or a bee buzzing right by your ear).
Because I like to keep things as simple as possible, mindful breathing is probably the easiest way to get you very present, very grounded in your body, very fast. And bonus points - it counts as a beginner level meditation, too!
Balloon Breathing Mindfulness Technique
If you notice one trying to sneak in, get grounded and back to the present moment. Ask yourself if what you are saying to yourself is TRUE and REAL for this moment, right now.
Besides getting super PRESENT, we also want to practice managing the thoughts as they are happening, prevent them from happening when we can, and ultimately SUBSTITUTING POSITIVE STATEMENTS that reflect how you want to feel, the reality you wish to live and create for yourself.
Some of the most helpful techniques include:
Flip the negative to a positive. If you think to yourself ‘I can’t...’, simply flip it to an empowering question such as: “Why can’t I...?”. If your negative talk sounds something like “You’re so stupid, you mess up all the time”, then you want to remove the absolute (‘all the time’), and rephrase to: “I make mistakes sometimes - everybody does - and each time I do, I learn something new”. You want to put a positive spin that is BELIEVABLE and TRUE (your subconscious will reject ‘fakeness’ and take it as something to be afraid of and... Your MIND-GREMLIN WILL BE BAAAACK!).
Continue to practice Forgiveness. Of self. Of others. Of situations. Release the shame and guilt that is notorious for keeping us stuck and FEEDING OUR GREMLINS!
Limit exposure to negativity (including negative people), and surround yourself with as much positivity and joy as possible! Yes, you ARE WORTH IT!
Create a list of POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS that you will repeat to yourself daily (and more than once a day if possible). Things literally filter down into our subconscious with repetition and exposure (how do you think YOUR MIND-GREMLIN got there?). So, doing this will make sure there is plenty to FILL THE VOID that will be left when your Mind-Gremlin has gone for good! Positive affirmations will be relatively easy to create if you have already made a list of the ‘Top 10’ nasty statements that your Gremlin typically says to you... Switch them around, and create powerful I AM statements. For example, if your Mind-Gremlin would repeat how ‘Clumsy & Awkward’ you are, you might switch that around to something like: ‘I AM powerful and strong, and I nourish by body every day with positive thoughts and kindness’.
Challenge the Chatter. The thing about negative self-talk is that we rarely if ever challenge what we are thinking. We just listen, and obey. Once we start to be objective and curious, it is time to also CHALLENGE what this chatter is saying. Some helpful questions to start asking yourself (and your gremlin) include:
Okay, that is it for today... Now it's time for you to start processing!
I’d love your feedback on this installment, or any of the installments in this 3-part series.
You’ve got this!!
Much love and admiration,
'The Joy Catalyst'
Tanya Tinney is a mom of three beautiful girls (including fraternal twins), wife of an amazing entrepreneurial man, nature lover, wrangler of two large dogs and chaser of three bad cats. She is equally good at baking banana bread and whipping up a killer margarita.
Her passion is helping fabulous people get unstuck from their past so they can blast through current challenges and get really stuck into achieving their dreams.
With three University degrees and 14 years experience working as a psychologist, most of the time she knows what she’s talking about. The rest of the time she ‘wings it’ based on her own messy life experiences. Her approach is one of laser focus, empathy and intuition with a healthy dose of humor – along with a kick-in-the-you-know-what when necessary (and it often is!).
‘I Am’: Two Life-Changing Words
Spiritual Self-Care – 11 Easy & Fun Ways to Keep your Energetic Boundaries Clear (for Therapists & Mental Health Professionals)
What is my Soul’s Purpose?
A Different Take on Getting (and staying) Grounded.
Your Mind-Gremlin LOVES You (Yes, really!)
Are you ready to meet YOUR Mind-Gremlin?
Why it’s NEVER somebody else’s fault (and why that is a GOOD thing)!
FACT: Patterns Rule Our Lives