Red Sky at Night….

The idea for this post came to me on Tuesday when the sky was an amazing orange-red. As soon as I saw it I had the old saying red sky at night shepherds delight come to mind. Does this ring any bells with you? Or maybe you are more familiar with farmers delight?

If you were familiar with it were you able to finish the sentence just from reading the title?
For anyone not familiar with this saying it basically means seeing a red sky at night means good weather the next day. Red sky in the morning, farmers warning.

If this saying is new to you maybe twinkle twinkle …. works better.

Why am I reciting nursery rhymes and old sayings? These are examples of how well our mind learns and retains thoughts and links years after they have been useful to us. And like the red sky ones, even when they may not be true. With only the prompt of seeing a red sky my mind generated the saying without me consciously thinking of it. Which shows how quickly our thoughts can change and often out with our control.

Whilst having the saying pop into my head caused me no ill-effects there are times when the thoughts that come to us can cause us distress or impact on what we do. This can be particularly true of critical thoughts we say to ourselves. Sometimes these messages and beliefs can get in the way of us achieving. For example, someone with the thought “I always fail” may find this can get in the way of trying something new or starting a new course/job.

What can be helpful is noticing your own self talk in situations. Do you tend to predict how things might go rather than waiting and seeing? Are you viewing yourself based on an older story or inaccurate messages rather than a more up to date version? Maybe you tend to take a one-sided view, such as only noticing what you think you have done wrong? Are these messages and behaviours helping move you forward or are they getting in the way?

Try and step back from these thoughts. Stopping and breathing can help slow things down and help you begin to notice your own self talk which is often the first step in being able to let go of these old messages.

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About Me

Dr. Lindsey Beedie is a chartered Clinical Psychologist who currently works in the specialist area of neuropsychology within the NHS in Aberdeen.