Tame Your Thoughts.

15 Apr

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Right now, more than ever, there are a lot of people experiencing turbulent thoughts that they describe as “having a hold over them.”

Our usual thoughts keep us pretty busy as it is, but lately it’s the catastrophic thoughts of future scenarios that appear to be running wild, egging on restlessness, confusion and anxiety.

Here’s what I want you to know. Thoughts may seem like they come from outside of us,  but they actually come from inside us. We’re in control of what we think.  Let’s not give thoughts a power that they don’t have. Thoughts don’t choose us. We choose them. 

A situation in itself doesn’t create overwhelm or panic, only your thoughts about the situation can. The thoughts you choose, inform your feelings. Read that twice and take a long, slow breath.

Unwanted, unwelcome thoughts only enmesh the more we 

  • pay attention to them
  • allow them to run wild
  • worry about having them
  • believe they control us
  • try to force them to go away

Much like standing in front of a toxic person who wants to argue, it’s so much better to not wrestle with them because they can’t survive without participation. Instead

  • curiously treat them as unimportant or disinteresting
  • tell them they’re weird and intrusive and label them as “junk thoughts” which is more neutral
  • watch them come and go, drifting like a cloud across the sky, entering and exiting.

Like all good lion tamers, observe what is happening, let go of the commentary and be fully grounded in the present moment where it’s much safer. Know that trying to control and demand certainty when there is none, doesn’t work.

Know that you are capable of shifting your awareness. Why not engage in an activity that draws you in completely, so that all of your attention is placed on what you’re doing. Quieten your mind by watching a movie, or take a long bubble bath or go for a walk and immerse yourself in nature.

Get into a good habit of reaching for relaxation, breathing and mindfulness. Bring your full attention to the physical sensation of breathing. Feel the air moving through your nose or mouth and notice the rising of your belly and falling of your chest. With each breath, you can mentally note “breathing in” and “breathing out.” When your attention wanders, don’t worry, you don’t have to get rid of thinking, just gently return your attention to the breath, to the sounds you hear and to the sensations you feel. 

 

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