I work hard on changing the way I ‘talk’ to myself. Negative self talk is a hard habit to break. Some days can be harder than others and I am learning to accept it will take time and persistence to change something I have been doing since childhood.
Increased Stress Response:
Negative thoughts can trigger the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which can have detrimental effects on the brain. Chronic exposure to cortisol can damage brain cells and impair the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and learning.
Altered Neural Pathways:
When negative thoughts become repetitive, they can reinforce certain neural pathways in the brain, making it easier for negative thoughts to occur in the future. This can lead to a negative thinking pattern and make it more difficult to think positively or adopt a more optimistic outlook.
Decreased Cognitive Function:
Negative thinking can interfere with cognitive processes such as attention, memory, and decision-making. When the brain is preoccupied with negative thoughts, it can be challenging to focus on tasks and make clear, rational decisions.
Impact on Mental Health:
Negative thoughts are often associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. These conditions can further impact brain function and contribute to a cycle of negative thinking and emotional distress.
Risk of Cognitive Decline:
Some studies have found a link between negative thinking and cognitive decline. Negative thoughts and emotions may contribute to the development or progression of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Disrupted Neural Networks:
Negative thinking can effectively rewire neural networks in the brain, strengthening pathways associated with negative thoughts and emotions. This can make it more likely for individuals to continue experiencing negative thoughts and find it challenging to break free from negative thinking patterns.
Strategies to Counteract Negative Thoughts:
- Identifying and challenging negative thoughts, replacing them with more positive and realistic ones.
- Mindfulness and meditation Makes us more aware of our thoughts and emotions, allowing us to observe negative thoughts without judgment and cultivate a more positive mindset.
- Positive and kind self talk can help rewire the brain and shift focus towards more positive thoughts and beliefs.
- Talking to a mental health professional or friends and family can help in managing negative thoughts and emotions.
Taking art classes has been a great opportunity to challenge my negative self talk and retrain my inner voice to talk with kindness and encouragement. Learning these new skills helps me identify and challenge my self talk. As children we are excited to learn and making mistakes is all part of the fun. I find making mistakes to be challenging, as is learning to accept mistakes as part of the process.
I was lucky enough to attend a couple of workshops this week in Port Pirie. Guided by local artist Georgia Ellie Art and Design, I learned basic skills to compose a landscape painting with water colour, gouache and felt pen. It was challenging and I did struggle at first.
My painting was looking like ‘a dogs Breakfast’ at one point and I was ready to give up. Instead I let go and played, with the thought being, ‘it’s a disaster and couldn’t get worse’! From the mess emerged a rather lovely piece. Peter and the kids all knew it was the Flinders.
In the other workshop I carved Lino and made a print, which I incorporated into my latest junk journal. I found the Lino printing easier being something I have done previously. I used the prints in my latest Junk Journal.