Following the advice of the ever wise Emily McDowell I’ve recently been trying to hone down the essence of what I want this blog to be in order to give it more direction and to help me come up with better ideas. Part of this process she suggests using involves coming up with three words that define your brand, for me the words I wanted to define this blog, and all of my work, are: simple, honest and designed for good.
With these three words in mind the one idea that kept coming to me was making something to tell my demons to politely fuck off. I struggle with a lot of anxiety and bouts of depression, and it seemed only natural to me that the best way to be honest and to try and do some good was to choose to do the work over what was easy on the things that actually bother me in the hope it might help someone else. So, that’s what I’ve done.
The first demon I’m going to try and tackle is negative-self talk. It’s something I do a lot. It’s something everyone does at some point. It’s something that has affected my creativity, my productivity, and happiness.
Even though I know that it’s something that’s often irrational or just plain mean, I keep doing it. It’s not an easy habit to quit, and you can’t just replace the negative phrases with positive ones because that sometimes actually leaves you feeling worse.
So, what I’ve designed is a little decision diagram to help work through the negative-self talk, to break it down. I always enjoy doing these in magazines, and I thought it would be nice to replace negative self-talk with something I enjoy and that helps slow down my thinking and rationalise what I’m thinking. I’ve actually been using this, and it feels a bit silly at first, especially if I pull it out for the tiniest negative comment, but it has actually worked to stop myself falling into a negative spiral. That is in part just down to the fact that I’ve sat down and recognised that what I’m doing isn’t good for me, and actively doing something about it.
The next time you start talking to yourself negatively have a go at just working through this diagram and see how you feel after*.
If you want to print and keep the decision diagram, there’s a pdf here.
*I’m clearly not a psychologist or a therapist, so yeah, just bear that in mind – this is just me trying to tell my own demons to politely fuck off.