This year has been enormously instructive for me as I became more aware than ever of old negative thought patterns that aren’t serving me (ie the self-tormenting* kind). It’s been a process. Happily, the trend is up. I am experiencing more and more how to generate a continually positive mind state by interrupting old negative ways of thinking.
The process I have been using is a simple mental exercise, where I ask myself quality questions that help me claim my power back to choose my thoughts. The process looks a bit like this:
- Notice that my mood is off.
- Ask myself, “Is this joyful?” (Answer: No).
- Continue asking myself similar clarifying questions: “Does this feel good?” (No) “Does this give me freedom?” (No) “Is this empowering?” (No) “If this fun?” (No) “Do I want to think something different?” (Yes!)
- Get fully conscious that my head is in a negative loop. This is where I become aware that my head was simply tormenting myself and that, yes, I don’t have to continue doing that (!).
- If it makes sense, sometimes I ask myself, “What do I want instead?” (Answer: to feel good, to feel ease, to enjoy myself)
By doing this process, I find that the self-torturing thoughts go from “just how it is,” where I feel powerless with no control, to a mind state that I created, which is something I do have control over. From there I start to have the mental leverage to choose something new.
Pretty cool stuff, huh?
*Incidentally, I wrote a post on this topic a couple of years ago.