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Is there a good reason for the inner critic?

Learning how to turn off our minds is as important as learning how to work on them.” – Andrea Hanson

This week I’m doing a little behind the scenes look at what I’m working on right now. My new online course, The 8 Week Mindset Challenge is starting soon, and this week I’m sharing what the challenge is all about – including negative thinking and the surprising ways it impacts us.

I’m telling a little of my personal journey when I took a deep dive into my own thinking after I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And common challenges among high-achievers, who I call “Ex-hustlers,” in adjusting to life with chronic illness – even years after the onset of the disease. (I put myself in that category as well.)

In this episode I discuss:

  • The power of taming our inner critic (and the common advise that actually makes it louder).
  • Teaching what I call the Whole Mindset Method and why the power of using our whole mindset is so much greater than simply looking at positivity.
  • My upcoming 8 Week Mindset Challenge and how it sets you up to make any lifestyle change (exercise, food changes, rest, whatever you like) in a much easier and sustainable way.

Guest Spotlight: Andrea W. Hanson

Andrea W. Hanson is a motivational speaker and the author of two books about having a positive mindset while living with a diagnosis; “Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis” and “Stop Carrying The Weight of Your MS”.

She’s also a master certified life & mindset coach who’s lived with multiple sclerosis for over two decades. Her podcast, “Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis™” features conversations with people who are creating extraordinary lives while living with chronic illness.

Andrea teaches people how to tune out the noise of their inner critic and listen to their authentic voice so they can feel confident in their ability to make changes and create the life they want.

Her new online course, The 8 Week Mindset Challenge opens soon. Get more information and join the waitlist at

Andrea loves to hike in the mountains with her Blue Heeler — and sometimes other humans, too. She’s happiest when traveling with her husband and exploring new things — or simply sitting poolside with a good book.

Connect with Andrea W. Hanson

Get the FREE guide, “The No BS Guide to a Positive Mindset” here


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Are you on a mission to stay positive but are finding it hard to…stay positive? You’re not alone.

Common advise out there can be confusing and a lot of it isn’t even meant to help you long term.

Grab my No BS Guide to a Positive Mindset and find out what works – and what doesn’t. Get your copy HERE.

Love the Podcast? Get these books by Andrea Hanson

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

“It is refreshing to have a book that fosters hope and promotes self-healing. This book is an excellent resource for those looking for ways to be proactive….and ways to find hope.”

“It is a true guide on how to listen to our bodies, connect to them, nurture ourselves and understand the power of our mindset.”

“I will be recommending Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis widely to all my patients when dealing with a diagnosis or setback!”

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis – The Book!

Stop Carrying the Weight of Your MS

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Andrea W. Hanson

[Andrea Hanson]
Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised
Hi everyone. This is Andrea Hanson. Thank you for joining me. I hope you are having a great week. I'm doing a little bonus episode this week for you. I want to let you in kind of behind the scenes on a new project that I have going on next month. Super excited. This is the first time I'm doing it.
The project is called the eight week mindset challenge. So why am I doing this? Why am I putting together this eight week mindset challenge? Well, look, I talked to my clients. I talked to the people on my newsletter list.
I listened to what they want. And they all want less negativity in their mindset. They want to be able to stop the negative thoughts. Especially when they're in that negative thoughts spiral. Most importantly, they want to easily be able to create and maintain.
All the different lifestyle changes that they know are going to help their health. You know, like exercising, trying different diets, getting quality, rest, things like that, that we all know help our health. And especially help your health when you're living with an auto-immune disorder. Most of the people I talked to, probably most of you all listening as well.
Our, what I call X hustlers. And I'm in that boat as well. They're used to getting things done. Used to doing it well, getting that A plus. On their performance. I am still like that. Sometimes I just went for a cleaning at the dentist. And then dentist. He said you have beautiful teeth, nothing is wrong. And I swear, I walked out of there. I was like, nailed it.
I like gave myself a high five. That's how I'm hardwired. I've brought it down a few notches, but I still love getting that a. And a lot of us who are wired like this have a hard time adjusting. To having a chronic illness, even years after we develop it. Our bodies tell us to slow down way before our minds do.
And a lot of the people that I talked to say that when they were first diagnosed, They didn't slow down at all. They fought it as long as possible. And try to keep up that status quo. I did that too. But eventually. I got the message and I knew I needed to change my lifestyle. If I was going to do well and stay healthy living with, for me, living with multiple sclerosis.
I did this bit by bit. Change different things here and there. But one of the first things I started to look at. Was my mindset. And I didn't really know. That that's what it was at the time when I was looking at it. I didn't know, like, Hey, this is my mindset. I'm going to look at it. I didn't know that what I knew was that I was really hard on myself.
I knew I had all sorts of self doubt. That made me push myself. To prove myself. And I pushed myself more than my body could handle. Because I was afraid. I was afraid of the consequences that would come if I didn't. Which it's so ironic. Because the consequences of pushing myself too hard were way worse than these perceived consequences.
That would happen if I didn't push myself. But I digress. that is for another day. But what I found when I did start looking at my negative thinking my negative, self-talk what I eventually realized was my mindset.
What I found when I started looking at this. Was a huge aha moment.
And it led me to focus on helping people primarily to tame their inner critic as well to team this negative. Self-talk. Because I saw just how much of our behavior is a reaction. To our inner critic and what our inner critic has thinking. So, let me explain a little bit more about what I noticed. When I was looking at my mindset.
I started by wanting to just be more positive. There are tons of great things that come from being positive. I know, you know what they are. I'm not going to go into it. I wanted more. Of what being positive brought me. Right. I wanted more of those great health benefits. And so I started looking at what I was thinking. I learned about how to change my thoughts. I learned about how positive and negative thoughts contributed to the results that I saw in my life, the actions that I was taking.
I learned all of that. And I ate it up. I still think it's fascinating and could talk about it all day long. But then what I did was I started to go further than just. What are my thoughts? How do I change them?
I started to hone in on where these thoughts came from. And the specifics. Of what was a positive thought? And what was actually a negative thought.
And also I went further. What was an emotion? How do emotions play into all of this? Right. I went deep, especially since I, when I first started looking at this, my emotions were like frozen. I barely even could feel. What they were, it was, I was, I was pretty, it was pretty bad. And so while I was going deep, while I was exploring all of these things that I never really explored.
While I was doing all of this. I was also doing a lot of one-on-one coaching. With people that. Mostly had multiple sclerosis. And I started seeing it, not only in me. But in the people that I talked to as well. I found out a few things. About this negative thinking.
First and foremost. Negative thinking seems to be especially tough. On those of us with a chronic illness. Because. Negative thinking. Sometimes it's really, really pervasive and it causes stress. Which in turn causes havoc on our physical bodies on our mental health. It messes with our immune systems because it causes inflammation.
All of those stress hormones that get released. Into our body that caused inflammation that caused stress within our body. And when you have a, especially an auto-immune disorder.
The last thing you want to do. Is mess with your immune system. You want it happy? You want it? Happy as a clam. And stress. Irritated. I also found out that negative thinking isn't it's not what we think it is. Like yes. There are going to be those overt negative thoughts that hurt us. That spiral that we can't get out of. Absolutely. They're there.
But. The constant pushing away. Negative thoughts, the constant worrying about. Being positive. And the constant pushing. Quote, positive thoughts on us that we don't really believe.
All of that is stressful too.

I also found that our inner critic. Is the epicenter. A lot of our most critical thoughts. All those thoughts where. We're hard on ourselves. Where we're mean to ourselves. Even sneakier, passive aggressive thoughts. Like, I'm just the kind of person that can't stay consistent. All of those thoughts. Our from our inner critic.
I also found that our inner critic. Effect. Way more. Then just us stressing out. And being hard on ourselves. Our inner critic effects. Our confidence. It makes us worry about what other people think about us. It affects how we show up in relationships, how we show up for ourself, how open. And vulnerable. We are.
Our inner critic is what causes things like imposter syndrome. Our inner critic also affects any habits. That we want to make, how quickly we start them, how much we dread making the change, how much we drag our heels before we really start some kind of a new habit. And how quickly we get back on the wagon after we have to stop for a period of time, which happens.
So the reach of the inner critic. Is long.
But the good news is I also found that we can calm the inner critic. By understanding where it comes from. And what it wants. Calming the inner critic gives us a huge advantage. For when we do want to start something like any new habit. In a nutshell. There are a few theories. Where our inner critic comes from, right? if you official theories, some say, it's our ID. Some say it's our ego, our lizard brain. There's a whole bunch of that. And I think.
It's all of the above. And then I also think there's some extra, I think that. What our inner critic says is also. An unfortunate reflection of the. Worst parts. Of our society. Right. What we think society wants from us. Which of course includes is not limited to, but includes things like ableism.
Sexism. Racism. Patriarchal thinking. And make no mistake. All of this negatively affects us no matter what your race, your gender or your ability is. And I let's just go ahead and throw in our mother. And like our third grade gym teacher as well. They're kind of tied up in that as well. I think our inner critic is a mixture of some or all of these voices.
That have affected your concept of who you are while you were growing up. That's where I think the inner critic comes from.
What the inner critic wants is a little less sinister. It wants you to be safe. It wants you to fit in with the herd. It wants your survival.
And with all of the ways that our inner critic is influenced and all of the mean things that our inner critic says to us. When it comes down to is just a misunderstood way. Of expressing love.
And that's how you calm it down. By meeting it there. At love. Now let's be clear. Right now. Of course, I am not saying that you sit there. And say, I love you inner critic for telling me that I'm worthless. No. No, no, no, that is not what I am saying. And that is not how you do it. And I am definitely not telling you. That what the inner critic says is true. That is a big, no, as well. So let's just be clear on both of those things. What I did too, was I developed a method. I developed the ladder method.
To get us safely. Out of the hole that can be dug by listening to our inner critic all these years. Sometimes we're listening to things and we don't even realize it's our inner critic. Like I said, it's kind of sneaky. It's a little slide because a lot of times these are things that we grew up with.
And just kind of didn't question because we just believed it. And so this ladder method gets us out of that helps us identify all of these other ways of the inner critic is affecting us. And helps us get away from it. Helps us climb out of that hole.
And that's just one of the things that I am teaching. In the eight week mindset challenge. So I'm helping people master the ladder method and to become so fluent in it, that it becomes an automatic response. When the inner critic does speak up. Which is much less once we learn how to talk to it. Now there's a few other parts of this challenge that are really important just quickly, first.
Understanding what I call the whole mindset method. Which is. To say that, that, you know, the whole mindset, positive, negative thoughts and feelings are together more than the sum of its parts. Right. More than just thinking positively. And that's pretty sure that's Aristotle.
I should've looked that up. I think that's Aristotle saying the sum is greater than the whole of its parts. Meaning that when all the parts are working together, there's a reaction that's created. That's even more powerful. Then the most powerful part on its own.
When we use our whole mindset together, getting to that place of increased happiness and self compassion is so much easier. And it's done without that toxic positivity feeling. Because we're not simply relying on always being positive. Right. We're putting it together with other parts of our mind as well. And we're able to get to our happy.
Calm place. If you will. Faster. And more naturally. . Another thing I'm teaching is. Getting quality. Rest and relaxation. How to turn off the mind. Is as important. As learning how to work on it. I teach what I call active resting and how to fit more of it into your day. So you give yourself a break on a much more regular basis than you probably do right now.
Now I love this challenge. This is the first time I'm teaching all of these things together. As oh, cohesive lesson, I've taught all of these things separately with clients over the years, and I've had great results. But when we learn these all together, The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
So, if you want to learn more about this eight week mindset challenge, that's going to happen in September and learn all of this so that you can stop being so hard on yourself. You can increase. Self-compassion increase overall happiness. And I think most importantly, or one of the most important parts.
Is to be able to use your mindset as a powerful tool to help you easily create, maintain this lifestyle changes that you've been putting off that, you know, Are good for your health and good to optimize your health, even while you're living with a chronic illness. And you know me. This is all going to be taught without pushing that whole positive vibes. Only crap.
All you have to do right now is join the waitlist. Andrea Hanson forward slash courses is where you can sign up. The class starts next month. That's a week after labor day. For those of you in the states.
When you get on the waitlist you're going to get more information. You're going to get logistics like what the class community is about, how you're going to get lifetime access to the workshops and the lessons and the community. How you're going to get access to me every week during these eight weeks for coaching and question and answers.
And you're going to learn exactly what we talk about for each of the eight weeks of that mindset challenge. And you can always ask me questions directly about the challenge. So Andrea Hanson, forward slash courses.
I joined the waitlist. The doors for registration are going to open soon. And the wait list gets first dibs. On the spots. Now I'm keeping this small, like I always do when I'm running a class for the first time. So get in now. And you'll get all kinds of access to me that won't be there. As I develop this class for later cohorts.
The link to join. The waitlist is also in this episode description. Remember the good news. Is that we can stop fighting our negative self-talk. We can stop getting mad at it. We can stop calling our beautiful brains assholes. And we can calm it down. So it's not so mean. And we're not so hard on ourselves.
It makes life. So much easier when you don't have that proverbial critic, looking over your shoulder, criticizing what you're doing all the time. Join the waitlist for the 8 week mindset, challenge and learn more. And if you're listening to this after September, it's okay. Go to this link anyway, and I'm going to tell you the next time that doors open for the eight week mindset challenge.
So I'm going to talk to you all about how to get in. If you're listening to this after September. Andrea Hanson, forward slash courses. Link is in this episode description. And I hope to see you in there.
That's it for now. I hope this helped demystify a little bit, what the inner critic is, why we're so hard on ourselves, why it feels like we're such assholes to ourselves sometimes. And. Help you understand, like, It's something that we can 100% change I hope you have a good rest of your week And i will see you next week on the next podcast Take care

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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