Taming YOUR ‘Gremlins’


This week’s post will focus on a playful, albeit very effective strategy, to help you to tame your ‘gremlins’.

So what do I mean by ‘gremlins’?

Coaches, counselors, therapists, etc. sometimes personify recurring, reactive patterns of negative self-talk as ‘gremlins’, ‘saboteurs’, ‘the committee’, etc.

This allows their Clients to more easily recognize their recurring, ‘reactive’ patterns of negative, self-defeating self-talk so that they can take appropriate steps to regain their equanimity and, therefore, their freedom to choose.

For example, I have a very strong tendency to be a ‘perfectionist’.

This tendency clearly does not always serve my objectives.

I have named my ‘perfectionist voice’, ‘Mr. Perfectionist’ to make it easier for me to recognize this often less than helpful pattern of thinking so that I can consciously focus on more positive and adaptive ways of thinking and actually get something done!

Sometimes we are ‘our own worst enemies’.

We have all experienced being triggered into overly negative, judgmental, and self-defeating ways of thinking and feeling.

When this occurs we are no longer free to choose our course of action.

Rather, we are now simply reacting to circumstances.

When we allow this to happen we have unconsciously given up one of our most valuable assets- our free will.

Common sense tells us that truly nothing good can come from negative thinking.

Careful reflection often even reveals that although we ‘have been there before’ and clearly already know that no good will come from entertaining a particular negative perspective and accompanying judgments, we still some how get caught up in the struggle.

We all also know that the sooner we refocus our attention on a more positive, adaptive perspective, the sooner we will return to blessed equanimity and self-empowered choice.

Yet we still often get caught up in the struggle and find ourselves acting in ways that we know really won’t serve our best interests in the long run.

So what’s the trick?

The trick is to recognize a recurring pattern of negative self-talk as soon as it begins and to immediately take three steps:

  1. Relax
  2. Disengage from the negative pattern without any negative self-judgment
  3. Redirect your thinking to a more positive perspective

A fun, almost ‘playful’ way to disengage from a recurring pattern of negative self-talk for you to try out:

The next time you notice a recurring pattern of negative self-talk, simply take these steps

  • Relax, taking several slow deep breaths in through your nose will help you to relax your mind and body
  • Thank the negative thought for being there to help you


  • Tell the negative thought, “Not now, maybe later”
  • Let go of the thought without any negative self-judgment
  • Remind yourself that you are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole and that you have everything you need to positively move forward in your life.

The rationale for this approach

Anxiety and fear are incompatible with relaxation. 

When we feel stressed, fear and anxiety take hold of our thought processes.

Our thinking narrows as our survival based ‘flight or fight’ patterns of thought rush to the surface of our consciousness.  The neural pathways to original, creative thinking are now effectively blocked.

This is why relaxing and letting go must come before we attempt to solve the problem.

It is important to remember that many of our most troubling recurring, negative patterns of thought have become deeply established in our consciousness.

Put another way, recurring negative patterns of thought have a sort of cumulative power behind them. 

The more they have ‘bugged us’, the more power they seem to have over us!

This is why decisive, nonjudgmental disengagement is so important to your success.

Resistance simply fuels the fire.

The things we resist persist!

By telling a recurring, bothersome, negative thought, “Not now, maybe later”, you are avoiding falling into the trap of engaging in a ‘life or death’ battle with your own mind!

When it comes to the realm of the mind, what we give our attention to will grow and have more influence, while what we ignore will diminish and have less influence.

It’s not about winning!

It’s about gradually replacing patterns of thought and feeling that don’t serve you with ones that do!

Always remember that:

  • You are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.
  • You are the captain of your ship.
  • You are and have everything you need to succeed.

See YOU next week!

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