“Combat internal negativity with external productiveness.”
Often throughout the day, we engage in dialogue with our thoughts and emotions without knowing them. We internalize what happens to us from the outside and process things in that way. Sometimes, in this processing, we may hit negativity. It could be as simple as obsessing with a mistake, or wishing you had done something differently, or finding yourself thinking repeatedly about it, and finding your attitude shifting from the positive to the negative. Some examples can include: “I wish I had said something else.” OR “I don’t think I can do this.”
The voice of this ‘internal critic’ can haunt you throughout your daily tasks, and can even become an obsession where you cannot think about anything else. When this happens, I have encouraged “Acceptance” and “Moving on”. But how exactly do you “Move on”? One strategy I’ve found in combating internal negativity is to distract yourself with external productiveness. Feeling bad about yourself or something that happened? Convert that psychological energy into focus by giving yourself to a task. It could be carrying on with a project, clearing your desk, going for a walk.
The beauty of external productiveness is that it can be ANYTHING, as long as you focus on it. Work and play can often provide distractions from our lives, and sometimes that distraction can be healthy to combat the negative voice of the critic. When all is said and done, it can give you the distance you need to reflect on what happened when timing, energy, and emotional state are more appropriate, and in the meantime, it can give you something to aspire towards, AND be productive in a way that you can be proud of later on.
Like most things, this is easier said than done. But being able to ‘shift tracks’ is a skill that can be acquired through time and practice. Why not start now?
Reflect or Distract Yourself – Psychology Today