Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 will take place from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May 2019. The theme for 2019 is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.
Body image issues can affect all of us at any age. During the week we will be publishing new research, considering some of the reasons why our body image can impact the way that we feel, campaigning for change and publishing practical tools.
Since our first Mental Health Awareness Week in 2001, we’ve raised awareness of topics like stress, relationships, loneliness, altruism, sleep, alcohol and friendship. This year, with your support, we want to reach more people than ever!
In aid of Mental Health Awareness Week, this week on the LID Publishing blog, we are taking guidance from some of our wellbeing authors, who give top tips on how to maintain a healthy mind.
Today, we look to Simon Tyler, author of The Keep It Simple Book.
Upgrade your inner critic
I relish the opportunity and challenge of public speaking, particularly at business conferences. At an event some years ago, my audience-impact challenge was to instil a lasting, positive to attitude and self-belief… in 45 minutes. The audience was going through massive organizational change and operating in an unstable marketplace. My topic was ‘Personal Resilience’.
I was very aware going into this event, more than normally, of the power of my inner voice. The frightened, damning inner Critic!
As I prepared my talk, the voice spoke (loudly), full of doubt, and from that fearful place that forms and poses unhelpful questions: Will I have any impact at all? Is the content right? Is there enough or too much?
The neutralizing force in the prep stage was my mentor. In her own grounded and pragmatic way, she reminded me of how I had faced similar challenges and succeeded. She bluntly told me to stop worrying and get on with it. You’ll be fine, she said, and the content is great.
On the day of the event, I met other presenters and was aware of my Inner Critic comparing me to them, scraping up the embers of doubt back into flame. Will I actually be credible? Who do I think I am? They are so much more professional than me…
I’m glad that this event took place, as it was the opportunity for me to permanently upgrade my Inner Critic.
Maybe you have an active Inner Critic too – one that activates whenever you have a significant event ahead, or a project to complete, a message to deliver, etc. The Critic from the scared ego, pulling you back to a low-risk posture; to the skittish “sometimes doing nothing is best” mindset. It may accelerate nerves and anxiety, and fill you will doubt.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. there are many coping methods I have used and worked with. A more permanent change is to upgrade the Critic instead of just quietening that annoying inner voice.
- First, get explicit about and evaluate your expectations for the talk. What are your hopes and intentions for it? What could they be? This last question is difficult to answer if the Citic is already in conversation. however, when asked early enough, it will have a positive impact and can raise your sights and ultimately your game.
- Next, tune into the inner voices. The Critic may be yattering, but so too will another thought section of your mind – the Encourager – albeit much more quietly. Every time the Critic makes a comment, notice how you feel. Physiologically, you slump. This is not good. And if you begin your presentation (or whatever you are about to face) in this state you are more likely to stumble, stutter, eer and fluff. When your Encourager makes a comment, and you actually hear it, you may not instantly become full of joy, but you will be calmer.
Pay attention to both your Critic and your Encourager. Both are thought chains sourced from your emotional state regarding the event, channelling fear and doubt from the Critic; and hope and belief from the Encourager.
When the Critic makes a comment, don’t listen. Choose another thought (often the absolute opposite) and keep thinking it. For extra help here read the ‘Thought Management 101’ Simple Note. You have to get in the way and change the inner story-telling.
Don’t forget that you get to choose who you listen to and follow. As with my experience with the Personal Resilience speech, within a few minutes of taking these two upgrade steps, the Critic generally upgrades itself and begins to help, not hinder. And the presentation went extremely well, thank you.
Keep calm and carry on!
Leading business coach Simon Tyler has spent many years successfully helping hundreds of individuals to overcome the complexity of their business and personal lives, and instead, focus on what is essential and productive. This compact book contains 50 practical tips and techniques to inspire and provoke you to review your life, change old habits and enhance your life by “keeping it simple”. Each tip also contains a lesson or exercise that will challenge consensus thinking, break through barriers and redefine connections through the power of attitude. This is a book that will simplify your life and help you achieve your goals.
Comments are closed