Learn to let go of your inner “Yes-Butter” and instead listen to your inner “Yes-Better”
Your mind is very good at being a “Yes-Butter.” You can tell that your mind is Yes-Butting when it judges you, disputes and constantly reminds you of your shortcomings, failures and various “issues.” We began yesterday’s post with a question:
Today’s post will help you with a few practical work outs for your inner Yes-Butter.
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I don’t know how it is for you, but for me, when I exercise, sometimes I feel it. My sore shoulder and my ‘glutes’ talk to me and ask me why I am being so hard on myself. Other days, I feel very little motivation and my warm bed talks to me, asking me why do I need to leave my comfy bed-zone.
Sticking with an exercise routine can be hard because of aches and pains, and motivation levels. And the reality is that when you stick with your exercise, it won’t prevent you from getting sick or feeling sore or having hard days at work. But what exercise will do is make you stronger and more flexible.
Building good mental health is a little like working out. It teaches you how to be flexible in the face of whatever difficulties that come at you from the inside, from your relationships and also from your circumstances. Being psychologically flexible means that you don’t give up on the life that you want even when your mental health kicks you in the ass.
The 6 Workouts to Bring Out Your Inner “Yes-Better”
Don’t try all 6 of these Mental Health Workouts at once. It’s up to you how you use the workouts. Pick one or two that appeal to you and work at them for a few days or a week and then move on to the next. Or you can skip ahead to one that you are more in need of, or repeat one as often as you need. And the workouts won’t take hours, just one minute, three times a day (Works best if you pick three consistent times, such as after you brush your teeth, at the end of your coffee or lunch break, and then just before you close your office door at the end of the day):
1.0 Look yourself in the mirror.
Pay attention and be honest about who you are. Not only about where or how you feel that you have messed things up, but also how you have worked to improve yourself, your family and your situation. Then celebrate. Most people don’t take the time to take a really good look at themselves.
2.0 Give yourself a little credit for all of the things you have tried to fix in your life.
Some things work for a while and other things are an outright failure. This workout is about giving yourself a little credit because you had the drive to try. Sure you may not figure things out every time, but no one does. Our minds give it to us in a constant barrage: “Keep trying you dummy… and you suck because nothing you are doing is working.”
If you give yourself credit, your mind might react like my mind… “Really? How can it be good that you are not fixing stuff or getting your life figured out?” The mind likes to engage in what Russ Harris calls “The struggle switch.” Give yourself some credit and then notice how hard your mind engages with a struggle to fix, judge or argue with you.
3.0 If you haven’t been able to change something about yourself, but you keep trying ask yourself “why?”
Asking yourself why it is so important to keep trying is a powerful question. If you refuse to quit even when you are knocked down again and again, that says a lot about who you are. Knowing your reason means that you have enough character to face off against things that want to beat you down.
Seeing what and who you are is a huge step (workout 2.0) and so is recognizing what drives you to keep at it. Both of these workouts help to form a good foundation, an anchor for when you have to stand for something, face difficult situations, stress or other moods.
4.0 Don’t be that guy… or girl.
You know the guy at the gym who lets everyone else know how hard he is lifting: he grunts, he groans and then he slams the weights down. Life won’t give you a medal if you grunt your way through it.
So give this workout a try: This one is about HOW you hold the weight: hold it lightly because sometimes the more you strain against the weight it becomes more about a performance than about the work itself. This week, hold yourself a little lighter, take yourself a little less seriously (or maybe, take yourself seriously, but drop the judgment, the expectations or the perfectionism). Make it about the work itself, what is truly important to you… not about how other people see you. This will save precious energy for other important things. (That’s workout 3.0)
5.0 Your mind can be a nasty place sometimes.
So go ahead, talk to yourself. Think about what you would like a good buddy or close friend to say. Sometimes I spend most of my week on this one. For me, if I don’t practice like I am on my own “team,” then nothing important will get done.
6.0 Life will hit you harder at different seasons of your life.
Each of us will have our own milestones: getting that really important job, that title or that promotion; becoming a dad or a mom; when your son or daughter turns 18; turning 4o and yes… turning 50! These are milestones that can make you proud and they can also do a number on your mental health or well being.
Often when you are moving along and making progress, your mind will bring up comparisons, self-judgments and critical evaluations. This is what our minds are good at. When your mind engages it’s Yes-Butter, remember that is actually a complement. Mind’s criticize, compare and judge when we are stepping out and living. If we hang back and avoid, our minds go quiet because we living a life that is safe.
You have one life and your life is built day by day, and moment by moment. You can start with just three minutes. When you invest in yourself, you won’t become perfect, just better (not better than other people, better than you would have been if you kept going the way you were heading). Your Yes-Butter will fade away a little and you will find it easier to listen to your inner “Yes-Better.”
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I invite you to read some of my other writing on the subject:
This is where I am supposed to write some serious stuff about myself. But in reality, I just hope that you enjoy what I write. I hope it makes you smile, makes you feel a little lighter and enjoy your life a little more. Nope, it’s not therapy, but I am sharing the good stuff… the stuff that helps me.
If you like it, sign up for my blog and share my work. And if you want to go the extra mile, click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.
Photo by Mike Maguire
Keep it Real