Five steps to detox your thoughts
This is your instant daily reset.
“Everything can be rewired and healed.” That’s my motto!
From trauma and tragedy to everyday things like dealing with quarantine, we can change our thoughts.
As we roll (alone together) into fall, I bet you’re ready to clean out the mental clutter.
Reactive thoughts come out of nowhere, put you in a bad mood and drain you. The brain is a good servant, but a poor master. It can compute, memorize and philosophize, but at the end of the day, it’s just another organ in the body- like your gallbladder. If we were to listen to all the burps and farts and excretions of our gallbladder, where would we be?
Think of the randomly generated useless thoughts as just that- brain burps.
Do any of these soundbites resonate:
“She’s doing this on purpose to irritate me.”
“They aren’t answering my email/text, they must be mad at me. I did something wrong. ”
BTW, the voices can also be cloyingly positive as well, take heed:You can do anything! No bad vibes! This is totally a good investment!
This form of bypassing can be just as toxic and useless as believing the bad stuff. Fortunately, there is another approach.
You can change the way you think.
What I mean is- you can change how sticky these thoughts become in your world. Studies show that it isn’t so much the thoughts we have that make us depressed or anxious (everyone has them), it’s what we do with them once they appear. That is how medications for depression and anxiety work- they decrease the stickiness of these brain burps, rather than reducing the negative thoughts.
You can do this.
Thoughts are neutral, thoughts are not facts. It’s the ones we entertain, hang out with and attach meaning to- that begin to influence our mood and behavior. Allow the negative ones to pass through, like water off a duck’s back.
Here are some practical tips:
Notice a thought and take a bird’s eye view. Become a sports commentator. (“Masha is being very hard on herself right now, she feels this first blog is not perfect, even though it provides valuable information people can use.”)2. Name
Say to yourself: “I am having a thought, greetings- Perfectionist!”3. Recall
Remember that thoughts are intrinsically meaningless, and can pass on their own.4. Get present
Don’t get thrown by reacting. Breathe, notice five things: what you see, smell, hear, taste and feel.This will bring you squarely into the present moment.5. Imagine
Visualize the thoughts as a dark, gloomy thunderstorm out in the distance, with you watching it safely from an armchair. Notice the clouds eventually dissipate and the sunshine come through.
Remember, each time you challenge your existing reaction, you grow new neural pathways in your brain that form new habits.