This is yet another addition to the lenghthening list of articles on controlling Headmind that have appeared on this blog.
It seems to be the one problem most people struggle with in therapy and in life:
- Eliminating negative thoughts
- Ignoring the Chatterbox
- Laughing off worries
- Heading off panic attacks
- Forgetting guilt
- Putting the brakes on obsessions
- Doing the dirty on perfectionism
- Postponing procrastination
So I am continually being asked for more techniques on how to control what some people like to call ‘Rational Mind’ when it is doing dumb, stupid, things. And I agree that it helps to have a variety of techniques on offer so that if one does not work something else will. So I am going to share one of my recent discoveries with you.
It came about when I was looking up one of my favourite works – The Wasteland – by T.S. Eliot and I was reminded that Eliot had, in fact, had a nervous breakdown shortly before completing the poem.
I then learnt that Eliot recovered from his breakdown in a sanatorium in Lausanne during the summer of 1922 while under the supervision of Dr Roger Vittoz, who treated anxiety problems by teaching his patients how to control Headmind with the aid of specific techniques devised by him.
His premise is that anxious people have lost control of their own minds and are paying attention to garbage. When they learn how to edit out negative words, objects, images and statements and replace it with their own content they get back control. Many of his exercises seem quite trivial at first but if you practice doing them every day for, say, a few weeks, the accumulative effect is that one is back in charge. And I can vouch from personal observation that some of the exercises work very quickly indeed.
One of them works like this.
Write out a worry statement. For example:
I CAN’T COPE WITH OTHER PEOPLE
Now imagine that you are flashing up each letter on a screen, one by one, until you have the complete statement.
Now delete each letter of the statement one-by-one, working backwards.
Next, you replace the first statement with something more empowering. For example:
I AM LEARNING HOW TO COPE BETTER
And then you ‘flash’ each letter of that statement up on the screen until it is complete. Look at the statement for a few moments, and then decide on one thing you can do in order to act on it.
Like all Vittoz’s techniques, it works on repetition. So use it every time you catch Headmind giving you a hard time with that particular worry.
If you would like to get a free copy of the English translation of Vittoz’s book on mind control – How to Control Your Brain at Will then you can download it from here.