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MeditationSilencing the Inner-Critic

Silencing the Inner-Critic

The way we talk to ourselves shapes our entire outlook on life. Learn to identify and silence the inner-critic, and then replace negativity and fault-finding with patience, love, and kindness. Dora shows us how.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

We all have an inner critic. That voice in our head that can be mean or harsh, telling us things that we may think are true but really are just thoughts, nothing more and nothing less. It's important that we know how to respond to this voice and learn how to relate to it in a friendly and compassionate way. And this all begins with our awareness and becoming aware of the things that we tell ourselves. It's interesting because oftentimes what we think is our voice is actually the voice of others or the opinions of others. Family, friends, social media, the list can go on. And this is why bringing awareness to the inner critic can be helpful. Because we start to shine a light on what is our voice and what's the voice of others. So in this exercise, we'll practice becoming aware of that voice and using the technique of labeling to note our thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings. Doing so in a neutral way, we create a greater sense of awareness. And we also create a bit of space between ourselves and our thoughts and feelings, helping us to respond in a more skillful way and ultimately, letting go. For now, take a moment to settle in and get comfortable, positioning the body in a way that feels right for you. So sitting upright or lying down, eyes can be open or closed. And when you're ready, taking some nice, big deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and breathing out through the mouth. Returning the breath back to its natural rhythm and just feeling the weight of the body, sink down into the surface beneath you, softening the eyebrows, unclenching the jaw, and relaxing the shoulders, and just continuing to soften any other areas of the body that may be holding on to any tension or tightness. Now, usually there's a belief that we hold about ourselves. Maybe there's a thought or a feeling that may arise when our confidence is low. I invite you to bring to mind that thought. What arises in the mind when we're being hard on ourselves? And when you have that thought or maybe there's many, I invite you to notice how the body responds and what feelings and sensations begin to arise in response. And as best as you can, noting the thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings each and every time the mind gets distracted. Noticing any storylines, narratives, memories and just allowing those thoughts to be there, not adding to them, but witnessing those thoughts for what they are. Just thoughts, nothing more and nothing less. And there's nothing we need to do with them. Just observing them and continuing to breathe. Again, noticing when the mind has wandered and gotten distracted, acknowledging it has, noting that thought as a thought and gently guiding the mind back to the sensation of the breath and the body. For a moment now, just letting...


Duration9 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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