In the last post, I was discussing about negative emotions. Every place you turn, you hear news about wars, strife, fires, shootings, floods and other disasters. You may be a recipient of one of these situations or you may be just having a bad day in earth school. It is very easy to slip into and stay in negative thinking and negative emotions.
Negative thinking is seeing the glass as half empty rather than half full and feeling angry or sad about it.
There may be a reason why we have the potential to lean towards the negative. Part of our brain in focused on survival… the amygdala. In cave times and many other times we depended on our brain to search for any negative and potentially life threading situations. It was important information… life or death important.
Today we are not being hunted down by a mammoth. We don’t have to flee the cougar. Yet if we have the choice between two stories: one delightful and one a disaster, we will almost always choose the disaster. In newspapers they say: “if it bleeds, it reads.” Wonderful.
We know that negative thinking and lower emotions cause a great deal of stress in the body. Think of it this way… Let’s say you have a “bad” situation and you devote a period of time complaining, whining, getting angry and depressed. The chemical that are produced with your behavior is so damaging that you have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of cells. That is right. Your negative rampage killed many, many cells. Don’t do it, it will make you sick.
Here are some things that help me get out of the stinkin’ thinkin’.
First, develop a practice of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude will go a long way in moving from a primarily negative thinker to becoming a positive thinker. But gratitude has to come in the calm moments. Make your list. Look at it and add to it every day. It is very nice to wake up and go to sleep thinking about all the good things in your life.
The other thing you must do in addition to thinking about what you are thankful for is to FEEL the gratitude. You have to know what it feels like when your heart opens in gratitude. When you can do this at will, it will be of service to you. That means in the heat of a negative moment, you can choose to switch over to “gratitude” and change the situation.
Journaling is great. Sometimes you have to dump. Great. Dump the anger and frustration and then burn the pages. It is not for you to re-read and get mad again, it is just a dump. It is also not for other people to read… it is your dump. So dump and burn.
Journaling is also a way to stimulate creative solutions and get insights into problems, situations and issues. You can start the page with a question. Then write the answer by writing for 20 minutes without picking up you pen. At first you will start with “I can do A. I can do B.” At some point you write that “this is the stupidest thing I have ever done. What was Mary Pat thinking…” Then eventually you will draw some very possible ideas and solutions. This is a great technique to do every day. I promise you, that you will have so many ideas that you won’t know what to do with them all.
I like to release a lot of energy through exercise. So I may go on a “mad” walk. Cleaning the house works too. If I don’t need to dump, I still may go for a walk. Walking and biking clear my mind and bring me into the present moment. Then I am clear.
Ah… the present moment. When I am stuck in negative thinking, I am not in the present moment. I have created some story and I am trying to live in the story.
There is a body posture that I assume when I am lost in a thought/story. I look down and tilt my head to the right. I may even nod my head side to side. I have done this since I was a little girl. When I catch myself doing this, I simply stand up straight. That brings my spirit back into my body. I will feel as many sensations as I can and notice all I can see clearly. These bring me into the present. The only time we really have is the present moment.
Another technique I use is EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. There are a number of tapping techniques around. They all work by tapping on various acupuncture points. When we are in a negative state of mind we alter the flow of energy through our system. Tapping helps right the ship so to speak.
These are some of the techniques I use to help myself get out of my own way.