Doesn’t matter what ”IT” is... as soon as you try not to think about IT, IT just pops into your head! So annoying, right??
Well, this is exactly the way that unwanted or intrusive thoughts work their way into our minds; sometimes spending minutes, hours, DAYS taking up valuable time & energy. They are SPACE INVADERS!
🤔 It starts with a simple thought.
🙄 That thought sparks an existing fear or insecurity.
🔥 The flame ignites.
🐎... and we’re off!!
That initial passing thought soon turns into fear and dread - worst case scenario - utter catastrophe. You’re now thinking about The VERY THING you don’t want to think about.
Its quite extraordinary how quickly the cycle can loop round. One minute you’re feeling calm and easy, the next it feels like there’s a monkey ringing a huge alarm bell in your head!
And I guess there is, kind of..
The monkey is your subconscious - the only job is of the subconscious is to protect you, so it’s on high alert, ready to flag anything it spots that’s ever caused you distress, anxiety, fear or insecurity before.
The bell is your amygdala - a bunch of cells located near the base of the brain that help define and regulate emotions.
Once the “alarm has gone off” it can be a frustrating process to switch it off again. The mind wants to find a solution to your problem or worry. But when we worry, our thoughts get carried away with “what ifs”, and it’s virtually impossible for the brain to find solutions (because let’s face it, these outcomes we‘re worrying about are highly unlikely to happen!).
So - Solution!
It’s not enough to simply TRY not to think that intrusive, unwanted thought anymore. You have to replace it with a more helpful one. Make it simple and relevant
- “I’ll be ok”
- “Things will turn out fine”
- ”I can’t control everything”
- “This will pass”
Or better still, my favourite helpful though ... “STOP!”.
Say it out loud, under your breath or just in your head. Cut those unhelpful thoughts off.
You don’t need to control your thoughts, but do recognise, that they are JUST THAT. Thoughts and nothing more than thoughts. YOU can change them.