Sometimes thoughts can seem like the enemy, like suicide bombers out to wreck your day. I’m talking about those terrorist thoughts that cause you to doubt yourself and feel you don’t measure up. One bad thing happens and it sets up a whole chain reaction. I lost my keys, I was late for that appointment, I bet on the wrong horse. I’m obviously stupid. You remember that time when you were on the school team and you failed to score in the most important match like ever. Your team lost and everyone hated you and that’s really proof you’re stupid. Isn’t it?
Without getting all deep and analytical here, when we allow terrorist thoughts to run amuck we're looking through a very faulty lens. We tone down our self esteem, we deliberately diminish ourselves. We start to see ourselves through ghost eyes, how we think others see us. We remember lateness, habitual patterns, not following through, not being good enough.
Actually thoughts are not terrorists, but they can seem that way when we give them ammunition. Our thoughts are in fact meaningless.
It is our thoughts about things that hurt us, not the actual event itself.
1#All thought is just electrical activity in the brain Realise that none of it is happening. It’s not even real. The mind is always in a state of calm, we just insist on listening to noise we make up. Your thoughts are not you. Neither are your feelings for that matter.
2#Change the thought pattern Stop what you’re doing and deliberately think of a time when you were really happy, when good things happened. Dwell on this for as long as it takes until those happy feelings begin to suffuse your body and take you over.
3#Move the energy around the body This has been known to change our physical state and get rid of terrorist thoughts. So put on some music to dance to. Do the moon walk or whatever floats your boat.
4#Short-circuit your annoying thought! This is easier than you think. Just think of a problem, then quickly think of something else, something pleasant. Now go back to the problem, but only for a second, and now back to the pleasant thought. Keep flipping back and forth like this and the two will eventually short each other out. Actually both the annoying thought and the pleasant one were the same – energy – but the mind prioritises one over the other. This is an NLP (neuro linguistic programming) technique.
5#Try walking Any kind of exercise is good for changing unwanted mental states, but walking in particular seems to be most effective. Often because we perceive exercise as dull and repetitive we resent doing it, therefore negating the benefits we might otherwise accrue. But walking is different, it can be done in nature or somewhere we like being, so it doesn’t make us feel bad about doing it. The reason exercise is good for us mentally (as well as physically) is because it releases good hormones into the blood stream, whereas when we are gloomy the brain makes a lot of cortisol (the aging hormone).
6#Stop worrying about what other people think of you This is one activity that people insist on spending endless time and energy on. Don’t concern yourself with what you think others are thinking of you. You can never know anyway. And, remember it’s none of your business.
7#Do a forgiveness exercise If there is a particular person that you have past or current issues with which cannot seem to be resolved, then try sending them forgiveness. You can do this in a silent meditation. You’ll be amazed at how it is nearly always effective at releasing all the energy we’re holding around them. When we forgive people (and events) from our past we allow our minds to return to a state of purity and wholeness again.
8#Make a list of your problems Yes, write down what’s bothering you, you’ll be floored at the therapeutic power of writing. I know! I banish all my demons that way. Go into every little detail. Remember to write down how you’re feeling. Don’t worry, no one’s going to read it, so get all the stuff down. Now look at what you’ve written and ask yourself how true is it really. If you found you’ve put down something like ‘I am not feeling very loved today’, just seeing it on paper is usually enough to make you realise how ridiculous it is. But if it’s kept locked in your head it can keep going round and round and seem real.
9#Put on some soothing music This can be really effective, maybe something to meditate to. I always find this gets me in a good mood.
10#Now here’s a really weird one. SMILE Yes, walk around with a big silly grin on your face. Tests have proven that it’s actually impossible to feel bad and smile at the same time. Try it! The problem is people associate this kind of smiling with being phony, so they baulk at it. But do it purposefully and then your whole approach will be different. Of course do it in the privacy of your home. I’m not suggesting you walk around the mall grinning like an idiot. You might get arrested!
Terrorist thoughts can invade our mind and cause us to focus on things that make us feel bad about ourselves. If stuff happens that we don’t like or didn’t want, it just means stuff happened. But then we start adding states like stupid, and shameful to the event. We paint ourselves in as the victim, and by doing so give ammunition to the terrorist thoughts. These are false denominations. I may be really good at one thing but not so good at another. It’s when we identify with something, label it as ‘bad’ and then transfer that label to ourselves – that’s when we’re in trouble. Because then we’ve internalised something and now we’re seeing ourselves as this thing, which was false in the first place.
Your thoughts are not you. Always remember that. Neither are your feelings. What you are is something way beyond that. It is something immeasurably greater.
Seek that instead.
There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!
Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.