You’re someone who struggles with negative self-talk.
You WANT to have more control over your thoughts for your own emotional well-being.
But yoga, meditation, and mantras never seem to work.
So, where do these thoughts come from?
Today’s post introduces you to:
- The basic definition of egoic thinking
- How egoic thinking becomes the script running your life
- A simple body scan technique to help you stop negative self-talk
THE BASIC DEFINITION OF EGOIC THINKING
Think back to your earliest education about ego.
Perhaps you learned that ego is your mind’s filter.
Ego acts as a filter by categorizing and labeling endless amounts of information that flow into your mind (generally speaking).
Without your ego, your mind would become overwhelmed by the massive input of information and would freeze on the “blue screen of death”.
So is ego always helpful?
Ego categorizes and labels all incoming information based on early childhood, repeated, and sometimes traumatic experiences.
In other words, all incoming information gets categorized and labeled based on previous experience.
This is usually a good thing because it allows you to make decisions quickly.
But it can be unhelpful because it doesn’t always allow you to see and experience reality for what it is.
HOW EGOIC THINKING BECOMES THE SCRIPT RUNNING YOUR LIFE
Over time, the neural pathways that your brain has forged based on egoic thinking become even more entrenched.
And, subconsciously, you begin acting from a predetermined script – i.e., thoughts, feelings, and behaviors based on or influenced by previous experience.
That script goes like this…
- Previously, when X event happened, it led to Y outcome.
- Therefore, Z event will probably lead to Y outcome as well.
- So, your mind proceeds with internal dialogue, feelings, and behaviors that line up with Y outcome (even though the events are not the same).
Do you see how this might not always be helpful?
For instance, imagine that as a child you were told “You’re too loud, and you’re bothering people.”
This made you feel ashamed and small.
Over time, your internal dialogue begins to reflect the belief that all people view you as loud, annoying, bothersome, and intrusive.
Because of this belief, you feel ashamed, anxious, and socially awkward.
And because of these feelings, your behavior changes – you become quiet, passive, and self-deprecating.
While other people might repeatedly tell you that they enjoy your company, that they find you funny, and that you’re not bothersome, your mind never truly let’s go of the original thought.
THIS is egoic thinking in a nutshell.
So with that in mind, I hope you understand that much of your negative self-talk may be coming from egoic thinking.
And yes, ego has its place (helping us filter through excessive amounts of information, so we can make quick decisions).
But where ego shouldn’t be is in the driver’s seat.
A SIMPLE BODY SCAN TECHNIQUE TO HELP YOU STOP NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
For most people, working to untangle egoic thoughts from true-self thoughts becomes a life-long commitment.
This month, we will dive into several different methods that may be helpful for reducing negative self-talk.
But today, I would like to focus on providing you with immediate relief.
So, I’d like to share with you how I break free from egoic thinking with a body scan technique.
I close my eyes and scan my body from head to toe looking for tension.
It’s not hard to find tension in my forehead, jaw, and shoulders.
I tend to knit my eyebrows together when I’m thinking troublesome thoughts, clench my jaw when I’m angry, and raise my shoulders when I’m stressed.
And I learned over time, that these are the places where I hold tension when ego has been in the driver’s seat.
In other words, the troublesome thoughts, anger, and stress, almost always come from egoic thinking (i.e., what if’s, worst-case scenarios, and imagined conversations).
THESE. ARE. NOT. REAL.
So, to take back control of my own thoughts, I do regular body scans throughout the day and ask myself “Are you in reality right now?”
If the answer is “no”, I practice 4-7-8 breathwork to bring my body out of the fight or flight response it is in.
- Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold for 7 seconds.
- Breathe out through the mouth for 8 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
Then I give myself permission to step away from the egoic thinking that led to the tension in my body.
Try this body scan technique now and let me know how it goes in the comments below.