The approaching holidays can be a difficult time for many and even moreso for anyone suffering from a mental illness. Don’t let social stigma prevent you from getting the help you deserve.
See the tips below the challenge…Great tips on how you can stop that mind from worrying and repeating over and over…you know when it just won’t shut up…read on… Tools for Dealing with Repetitive Thoughts by Karuna Poole
One of the main ways we make ourselves miserable is by repetitive thinking. Very few of our thoughts are new; we recycle them again and again. We ruminate about past traumas, feel indignant over ways we were slighted, or obsess about possible future problems. Repetitive thinking can lead to depression and anxiety.
Below I am going to list many tools you can use when you find yourself trapped in this cycle. They are not listed in any particular order. If one doesn’t work for you at a given time, try another.
1) Say “Be here now” to yourself and shift your focus to the present. Do that every time you find yourself thinking about the past, worrying about the future, or into repetitive thinking of other kinds. You may need to say the phrase hundreds of times a day when you start, but if you continue saying it and bringing your attention to the present, the repetitive thoughts will stop. Remember that you are working to break an old habit and build a new one, and that takes time.
2) When you find yourself into repetitive thinking, bring single-minded focus to every moment. For instance, say to yourself “I am picking up my fork,” “I am holding my fork,” “I am picking up food with my fork,” “I am bringing my fork to my mouth,” “I am putting my food into my mouth,” I am chewing my food,” “I am swallowing my food,” etc.
3) Pick an affirmation and say it at least 1,000 a day, or more, for 21 days. Say your mantra internally, going as fast as you like. If unhelpful thoughts start coming at the same time, speed up the affirmation You can use any kind of affirmation. Some examples are “Be here now,” “I’m competent and capable,” “I let go,” “My needs are important,” “I am enough,” “I am smart,” “My life is unfolding as it should,”etc. Pick one affirmation and stick to the same one for the entire 21 days. It doesn’t matter if you believe what you are saying. What matters is that you want to believe it. If you say the affirmation in the 10,000 a day range, it may start flowing through your mind automatically, during the day and possibly throughout the night as well.
4) Make a 3 second contract with yourself. Since repetitive thinking is a habit, you will probably find yourself in the midst of it without being aware it had started. You don’t break the contract when you find that you have been obsessing or over thinking for some time. You break the contract when you realize you are doing it and don’t start working to disrupt the thinking within 3 seconds.
5) Distract yourself. Go for a walk, exercise, read, talk to a friend, etc.
6) Write lists of what you are feeling mad, sad and/or scared about. Don’t spend time thinking about it; just write whatever comes to your mind in the moment, even if you end up writing the same thing over and over.
I am mad that _______
I am mad that _______
I am mad that _______
I am scared that _______
I am sad that _______
I am mad that ______
I am scared that ______
I am scared that ______
7) If you are angry with someone and obsessing about that, do some anger work. Journal about your anger, write a poison pen letter telling the person off (and then destroy it), twist a towel and imagine yourself yelling at them, scream into a pillow. Stop when you feel a shift in your energy. These techniques are for the purpose of releasing the angry energy in a way that doesn’t hurt yourself, others or the environment.
8) Write a list of your scares in one column and in a second column write the truth about each situation. For example:
If he leaves me I will die If he leaves me I will feel very sad but I will not die.
I have done nothing with my life I have done many things with my life (and list them).
9) Write a list of all the things in your life that you are grateful for.
10) Each time you have a negative thought about someone else, write or say three positive things about them.
11) Each time you have a negative thought about yourself, write or say three positive things about yourself.
12) Most often fear needs information. If you are feeling afraid, ask yourself what information you need and then go get it.
13) If you find yourself obsessing about a negative event from your past, write a list of the things you learned because that happened to you. Also, identify the skills you have today because that event occurred.
14) A friend recently told me about a process she finds very helpful:
The moment you get a repetitive thought, write down what scares you about that thought; i.e., what is behind it that worries or frightens you? In a stream of consciousness way (don’t go back to read what you write), write down everything you’re afraid of that comes to mind until you run out. Then wad up the paper and burn it [or tear it up] and go about your business. Do this process daily and/or every time you get a thought you don’t want.
15) Think what your life would be like if you were able to stop most of your repetitive thinking. Hold that vision in front of you as you make moment to moment decisions about where you put your focus.
I hope you find these tools helpful. I wish you the best on your journey towards a peaceful mind.
Written for Challenge for Growth Prompt #8: Stop (Repetitive) Thinking
This week’s challenge is:
“Today I stop my repetitive thinking.”
So few of our thoughts are actually new; we recycle most of them again and again as we ruminate about past traumas, feel indignant over ways we were slighted, or obsess about possible future problems. Overthinking keeps us trapped in our heads, rather than living from our hearts. It also leads to depression and anxiety.
We may believe if we think about a problem long enough, we will figure out what to do about it. The reality is that inspiration is much more likely to come when our minds are silent than when we are in a never-ending cycle of analyzing.
This week, for 1, 2, 3 days or longer, commit to stopping your repetitive thoughts. One way to do that is to say “Stop…..Be here now” and then focus solely on the present moment whenever you find…
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Olivia sighed a sigh of relief after speaking to her caller for two hours and the threat of suicide had finally waned when the teen thought of her little sister, her mother and her dog, Chelsea, she would not want to leave behind to fend for themselves with her step-father.
“But how do I know there is light at the end of the tunnel when my life is shit all the time… when my step-father won’t stop beating my mom and won’t stop coming into my room to get his “sugar” that I’m too old to believe that anymore, eh?” she wailed into the phone.
“Allow me to guide you through an imagery and let all your thoughts, fears, images float by you, like the credits at the end of a movie: now, imagine you are in a dark gigantic cave and as you move along you notice a fork and you have to decide which entrance you will continue on your journey.
You may choose one passageway that will make you go in circles in total darkness for a while but still brings you back to this fork; the other entrance will bring you towards the light but eventually you will still get to the light and you have me and many other counsellors here to guide you until you reach the light,” she stops to give her caller space to explore this imagery.
She hears the caller sob softly, “I can see it, I can really see the light”.
Stress…how do you manage it? Moody blues, can you overcome them and if you can’t, what about taking a break from sadness, worries ( the old fashion anxiety we all too often label now) and stress?
I often suggest to youths to exercise, dance, jog, take a brisk walk around the block because we know it is cold in most places in Canada, do yoga or Tai chi…movements do not have to be fast…it is the movement in itself that is therapeutic and in so many cases, it is healing.
I have always enjoyed dancing but have never been a very good one. I would practice as a teen before going to a dance some special line dances, listen to lots of Motown and allow the music to move my body. I’ve noticed when you enjoy the music, your body seems to respond so much better. When the children were younger I would dance and they would laugh at Mommy who looked silly…actually they probably still think the same thing and they are 30 something! What has changed over the years however is that I let my guard down in my late 40’s. I would dance now with freedom because my internal voice said, “Dance your heart out like no one is looking!” I had a regular place I loved to go dancing in Toronto that had live R & B music every day with no cover charge! We had a group of friends that went regularly and it was fun.
One friend told me I reminded him of Carmen Diaz in her role in Charlie’s Angels. I remember saying, “I thought I danced better than that!” But what he meant was her free spirited…laissez-faire attitude and for that I would agree and consider that a compliment.
Dance like no one is watching and you will certainly lower the stress in your life…even if it’s just for a few hours…it is free, healthy (but don’t like that stop you) and FUN!
Here is a video that will put a smile on your face…watch and see, I dare you.
© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/801/13
Inspired by this post at The Kintsugi Girl
Hope is imagining better times will come…never lose the ability to imagine…never ever lose the child in you.
“IMAGINATION IS THE TRUE MAGIC CARPET”
~~ Norman Vincent Peale
I read this quote while visiting a new blog at Moon over Spumoni. It spoke to me. Quotes do that to us, don’t they. You may have heard countless quotes, proverbs, prayers or poetry most of your life and then, for the second or thousandth time you read it and it actually draws you in.
Imagination is the true magic carpet…indeed! Like the caring doctor at Cedar House Rules, read bedtime stories to the children at the orphanage, bedtime snack feeding dreams on their magic carpet.
Can you imagine not being able to drift off to dream land when you were a child? What if you were going through a difficult time in your life? You are perhaps grieving the loss of dear pet and you are too young to grasp the concept of “forever”. But you can imagine…
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Many friends and family suffer seeing a loved won battle the disease of disordered eating. know that it is their powerlessness that may make them withdraw at times, but never for the lack of love and concern for you.
I don’t want to light a candle,
To remember you,
I would rather buy you coffee,
Head out shopping,
Spend and spend!
I would rather do most anything,
Than have to say goodbye,
But I’m absolutely terrified,
You’re just about to die.
You think life’s not worth living,
That you don’t deserve a chance,
To enjoy life and to have friends,
And to sing, perhaps to dance.
But we all think you’re amazing,
You’re a very special friend,
You make us smile,
You care for us,
We don’t want that to end.
We really want to help you,
But we’re scared and don’t know how;
If you can think of anything,
We’ll be there, we’ll do it now.
I hope you find it in you,
To kick the butt of this disease.
Anorexia, I hate you,
Aoife – no more candles,
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