What does it mean to you to get out of your head? Ever feel like you are ruminating about the same issues, same challenges and negative spiralling thoughts without ever really coming to a resolution?
It is often we torture ourselves with this negative thinking pattern, cornering us into a place of no hope. This corner of hopelessness gets us stuck. It effects the way we feel and think about ourselves and the world around us, and in turn effects the way we behave and ultimately whether we truly find happiness and success in life.
So how does this actually work?
Through acquiring a particular pattern of thought, we are creating a habit of automatic thoughts, behaviours and emotions. If you think this way, you feel this way and you act this way. Have you ever hear of the saying “neurones that fire together wire together“ (by Donald Hebb) . If we are constantly thinking the same thoughts that lead to the same choices and lead to the same behaviours, experiences and emotions we have effectively hardwired a brain pattern. This is exactly how self-limiting beliefs start.
The good news: New thoughts lead to new choices, new choices then lead to new behaviours then new behaviours create new experiences and new experiences make new emotions and these new emotions will evolve new thoughts. So it is a evolution!
We all suffer from this, it is not easy to do but you can break such a cycle and create a new neural pathway if you continue to practice in this way.
3 steps to breaking the cycle
Step 1 – Become conscious of the unconscious - Become aware of the unconscious, automated, inner critic thoughts. Once you start to become aware of these narratives, notice how they effect your emotions and behaviours. One way of increasing awareness is to recognize when you are feeling low, noticed what your thoughts are offering at this time, maybe writing thoughts down…
Step 2 - Interrupt the pattern - Pause, give yourself time to come up with other possibilities. What other vocabulary you could have used in that thought or statement? How could you have been kinder to yourself? For example - Thought 1 “I am absolutely useless at this…” Thought 2 “I am ok since it’s my first time trying this…”
Step 3 - Challenge your thoughts - Understanding that thoughts are just thoughts, they are not reality, they are not fact, they are simply just made up. Not getting attached to them or internalizing them can help with breaking a negative pattern and open doors for change, for possibility.
A quick an easy CBT (Cognitive behavioural Therapy) technique to mobilize step 1 through 3 is to commit to a day of recognizing thoughts, when a negative through is brought into the awareness, come up with a more healthier, positive possibility, then count backwards from 17 to 1, allowing your brain to have the space to create a new neural pathway. When you arrive at one, do something different from what you were just doing. So if you were watching TV, get up and get a glass of water, something simple to immediately break the previous pattern and reinforce the change.
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