Compelling thoughts have the power to take us away from the present moment. They trigger feelings of fear and anxiety, showing up like a storm in our system. Think of times you’ve been ruminating, compulsively going over something in your mind. This type of thought often relates to a past event that you wish was different or anxiety about what may happen in the future.
These are the thoughts that keep us from sleeping at night. This is the racing mind that never lets us rest. It is important to recognize the negative effects on our brain, nervous system, and lives when these gain momentum and begin to predominate in our mind.
As a culture we are beginning to be aware of the harmful effects of sports concussions and to protect young players through policies like mandatory helmet use. Compulsively banging our head is harmful, whether it is against a wall or a soccer ball. Let’s be clear that compulsive, negative thinking also hurts us.
There are healthy and effective strategies for helping to slow down your thoughts, including breathing and relaxation exercises, going for a walk, or immersing yourself in a project. Reading a book out loud can break the momentum. Develop a list that works for you.
Effective but unhealthy strategies with disastrous consequences are distractions and addictions so prevalent in our culture. These include shopping, binge watching on Netflix, compulsive cleaning or addictions like gambling, sex, food, and alcohol or other drugs.
We can change and heal this pattern.
Find out more in Lynn Fraser’s new book Friends With Your Mind, How To Stop Torturing Yourself With Your Thoughts
It isn’t surprising that you are feeling overwhelmed, wound up and utterly stressed out these days - it’s a busy time of year in the craziest way! I know it feels like all times of the year are the busiest? The holiday season however always has that extra fa la la la….. I doubt feeling this way is helping you accomplish those millions of extra tasks these days. You see when we’re bouncing all over the place; whether it’s actually happening or just happening amongst our thoughts and to-do lists, so is the energy we put into these tasks. If the scattered chaotic energy is what we put into what we do, what do you think the result will be?
….right…..exactly…….It’s nothing revolutionary, just a simple idea. Why don’t you stop and take care of yourself for a little while. I promise you all those things you must get done will still be there when you come back and they will be far less daunting. What an idea! I know! You may have heard this idea a hundred times before, and how are your results? Don’t doubt your efforts. The fact that you have the awareness is the first great gift you could offer yourself. If this is the very first time you have pondered such madness as putting everyone and everything in your life on hold and be right back, well I wish you could see the smile I have for you right now.