Changing position on negative thoughts
This is the second in a series of articles that teach you a new four-step process for separating away from negative thoughts.
The four steps in this new method are:
- Change Position
- Change Attitude
- Change Focus
- Practice Mindfulness
In this post I am focusing on Step 1 in the four steps: Change Position
Distancing yourself from negative thoughts
In this step your job is to distance yourself from your negative thoughts. However ‘real’ they might seem negative thoughts do not in fact belong to you. They belong, rather to the conditioned self, which constantly replays old thoughts, stories and judgments to you.
The Change Position step encourages you to see that the tapes are coming from IT rather from you. YOU are not your MIND. Instead, YOU are a sentient, living, emotional person grounded in the moment who needs have no fear of what your mind is trying to do to you.
To make this step work you first need to identify the content of the tapes: repetitive, conscious, or semi-conscious ideas that trigger anxiety. You will know they are running because you will suddenly notice that you are getting uptight, frightened, obsessed, panicky or worried. Your job now is to identify the tape and distance yourself from it.
Examples of negative thoughts
Some common ‘tapes’ include:
- An image of something terrible happening to you
- The thought that you cannot bear what is ‘about’ to happen
- The idea that you are going to ‘pay’ for past mistakes
- Self-talk that you are useless, worthless or otherwise messed-up
- Flash-backs to awful moments from the past
- Injunctions to ‘get it right or else…’
Once you have identified the unhelpful thought the mind has re-presented to consciousness, you are in position to separate.
A good way to do that is to engage in some self-dialogue, in which you label the conditioned self:
- The Chatterbox is working overtime today…
- The Robot is playing up…
- The Control freak is off on one…
- There IT goes again…
This step is immediately followed by the next step: Change Attitude, which is closely linked. More on that in the next article.
Other articles in this series: