Updated: Aug 18, 2018
Or minds can overwhelm us. We can be engaging in a random or relatively simple task, and before we know it, we have a loop of negativity running through our head. We can be re running old experiences, feeling the same feelings of guilt, remorse, embarrassment or shame. We can be engaging in that old threadbare thinking known as “and another thing…” where one experience or emotion leads to another similar feeling. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if the experiences were engaging, colourful and pleasant. Often they are not. This is due to old wiring. The older part of the brain that served us so well in the past, is up alert and running exactly how it should. Back in the day, our ancestors needed to be guarded and the alert for danger…….you would hardly want your mind to stop and enjoy the aesthetics of a sabre tooth tigers fur, or admire the glint of the sun on its beautiful enamel teeth if it were about to sink them into your jugular! Being aware, and looking for danger meant that you survived. The problem is that there aren’t any sabre tooth tigers around, but we still look for danger in the from of negativity. In fact our mind is 70% negative, and it is built to survive. That hard wire instinct is difficult to shift……..but not impossible
The unconscious mind is a literal beast. It takes on everything we say at face value. Whatever you tell it to focus on, it will. Given that it has a store of a millions of your experiences, it can draw upon any area of your life that you choose to focus on. If you choose to think about the world being a dangerous place, the unconscious mind will look for examples that support this notion. If you tell yourself that you are useless, worthless and inadequate, then, guess what? Yup, the unconscious mind will find experiences in your past that illustrate these points.
The unconscious mind has been likened to a huge library, with no lighting. There are countless books stacked in order. But we only have a torch that can see a small part of this library. Where we choose to shine our light is what we see. If we choose to focus on negative elements, then that is what we see. If we choose to focus on self loathing, our inner librarian happily points to the area called the “why I hate myself” section. It is therefore important to not only be aware of what you focus on, but where in your library is your desired section?
I would urge you to concentrate on your choices. What you focus on expands…..in other words, what you choose to shine your torch on becomes what you think about most. We can easily drift into morbid reflection or negative self absorption, and the key to getting out of this is self awareness. There are many NLP techniques that can help, but for the benefit of this short article, I will give you a simple remedy
Once you catch yourself in the act of self deprecation, see if you can back track, and notice where this came from. You may be amazed at how the most simple “hook” can take you to dark places! Becoming aware not only gives you the opportunity to watch your stream of thoughts, it gives you a sense of control and choice with what you do next
Try to see how you experience this feeling……are you seeing in colour, or black and white? Are the mental pictures still, or a movie? Are there any noises associated with this? It will give you an idea of how you experience your negative memories
Think of some counter balancing strategies. What would you prefer to be thinking about? I personally have a list on my phone, of wonderful, humorous, loving or uplifting experiences that I refer to. In other words, I shine my torch on a preferred section of my library!
Try to think and re acquaint yourself with those positive feelings. How do you see this? Colour or black and white? Is this picture 3dimensional or flat? Where in your minds eye do you see this picture? You could try to place this picture in front of the old, more negative picture you are trying to dispel. Remember, what you focus on expands! The thoughts that we are aware of (and unaware of ) design our reality in graphic and emotional form. So be mindful of what you think and be careful what you wish for!