Overcoming your inner critic is difficult. In life there will always be times where you doubt yourself or question your decisions but it is key to know whether these thoughts and feelings are justified or your own inner critic taking over.
When you’re seeking direction, feeling lost or doubting yourself try these 4 yoga and breathing exercises to help you tackle your inner critic and find peace within yourself.
1 - Create Your Own Mantra
Listen to what your inner critic has to say, maybe it’s phrases like ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I look ugly’ or ‘I don’t deserve this’. Flip these harsh phrases on the reverse and change them to ‘I’m good enough’, ‘I look amazing’ or ‘I deserve everything I’ve worked for’ and make these your mantras. Pick the words that bring you down the most, make it a positive and make this your mantra.
Every day stop to recite your mantra to yourself, repeat your mantra over and over in a peaceful area for a few minutes. Combine this practice with a string on mala beads to create a more meditative experience. You’ll soon find yourself listening to your mantra and ignoring your inner critic.
2 - Maintain Mindfulness
Your own well being is of the utmost importance, so consistency when looking after yourself is key. Take time out of each day to focus on your well being, it’s essential to form a routine, not just to take time out when you feel burnt out or overwhelmed. Journal your thoughts daily, meditate and focus on your breathing, practice your mantras and address your inner critic routinely. By doing this you’ll slowly begin to recognise your inner critic triggers whilst learning how to overcome the negative thoughts when they happen - consistency is key!
3 - Take Time To Rest
Just like your body, your mind needs time to relax. Listening to your inner critic places stress on the nervous system, but your inner thoughts can also be a great thing too, they can push you to achieve your potential and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Resting your mind will help you to recharge, so your inner critic can direct this energy towards more positive, beneficial thoughts.
Set yourself a bedtime routine, aim for 8 hours of sleep each night and limit technology before bedtime, this will help you and your unconscious mind to get some well deserved sleep, for the better day ahead.
4 - Practice Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga involves practice of breath, body and mind to restore a peaceful balance from within. Hatha yoga is the yoga most often taught in traditional yoga classes, focusing on stretching the body and breathing.
Each day set aside 10 minutes to practice the hatha yoga positions, flow through the sequence paying close attention to your breathing. Exhale for longer than you inhale, this will help to decrease feelings of worry and anxiousness whilst increasing your oxygen levels and circulation.
Start with the standing hatha poses, such as the warrior pose, gate and tree pose and slowly transition into the kneeling poses and downward dog. You’ll feel relaxed and refreshed in no time at all.
There are so many benefits that practicing breathing can have on your mental health, we recently wrote about these in a seperate blog which you can read here.
By incorporating these 4 yoga practices into your everyday routine you’ll be able to rationalise and deal with your inner critic more effectively, allowing you to power through your day with a positive attitude and healthy thoughts.