By Carol Reid
Ready, set…? Did you hear ‘Go’? That’s an example of mental conditioning. When you were younger, you learned that ‘Ready, set…’ was followed by ‘go’ to start races or competitions. So now, your mind automatically fills in that blank.
If you’re anything like me, your mind takes you on wild goose chases, runs you around worst case scenarios, and generally keeps you up at night. Actually, correction – my mind used to do that, but since I trained it, I get it to do what I want (most of the time). I can control which thoughts go into my mind, which thoughts I take control of, and which I discard.
Within 17 seconds of thought entering your mind, you’re processing related thoughts. Within a minute, your mind is taking you on tangents – with or without your consent!
The good news is that you can change that. Here are four simple techniques for working with the mind and with negative thoughts:
- Cut off the thought (replace the negative thought with a positive thought). When you start thinking something that’s not helpful to you such as, “Why did she say that? Why didn’t they include me in that? I never get included. People just don’t like me,” replace those thoughts with more positive ones, such as: “People really do care. I’m sure she was just having a bad day. They just didn’t notice me and that’s okay because I can’t control what they see.”
- Observe it (become the observer of the negative thought)……Have the negative thought play around in the background. Don’t get worked up over it or try to analyse it, just observe it and watch what your mind does.
- Exaggerate it into ridiculousness. Have fun with this one. Here’s an example: You are stressing about a presentation you have to make and having all kinds of thoughts that it won’t go well, that they won’t like you, that you will mess up. Exaggerate all your fears and worries into such ridiculousness that you laugh out loud at it. For instance, you might imagine that everyone comes to the presentation naked, you are the only one clothed and they all think you are amazing because you teach them how to wear clothes!
- Counteract the thought with its exact opposite. As soon as the negative thought starts to rise, replace it with the complete opposite. Counteract the thought, “I’m feeling tired right now,” with, “I’m feeling really energetic (or my favourite) I am recharging, I am recharging.” By the time you’ve said that for an hour, you are fully charged!
Unfortunately, in this country we have an epidemic of low self-esteem. New Zealand has the highest suicide rate of any country in the developed world. The group with the highest depression rate is people aged 45-54 years old. One in four women are on anti-depressants.
Here’s the thing. Our self-talk is the basis of our self-esteem. If we are having thoughts about ourselves that are hurtful, mean-spirited or just downright nasty, this will affect how we interact with the world and how we feel about ourselves. Would you be friends with someone who was cruel to you? So why do you keep allowing your own mind to treat you this way? Now, if you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s crazy, I don’t talk to myself ,”…… well hello – you just did! And you will have over 60,000 thoughts today alone. It’s no wonder that if some of those thoughts are self-directed nasty thoughts, we feel low, anxious, depressed or lack self-belief.
Your mind is your own. No one has entry into your head but you. Stop giving your power away to your thoughts, and take control of them. You cannot know what someone else is thinking but we try to do this all the time – stop wasting this energy. Concentrate on your own mind and getting it thinking thoughts that are supportive and loving. Your world will open up and you will notice things will change for you. Now ready, set …. GO! …… and be amazing!
You can get in touch with Carol Reid of Soulpreneurs here: https://www.soulpreneurs.co.nz/contact/