This is the third in a series of articles that teach you a new method on how abolish worry, anxiety, obsessions, OCD, and addictive thinking patterns. In fact, any kind of repetitive, boring, disturbing thought pattern that keeps you enslaved to the Chatterbox inside your Head.
To recap: the four steps in this new method are:
- Change Position
- Change Attitude
- Change Focus
- Practice Mindfulness
I have before written a similar article on this subject called Do You Control Your Mind Or Does It Control You?
In this post I am focusing on Step 1 in the four steps: Change Position
In this step your job is to distance yourself from your thoughts. However ‘real’ they might seem negative thoughts do not in fact belong to you. They have their origin somewhere else – in the conscious mind – ‘Headmind’ – in fact. And Headmind is stuffed full of ideas it has adopted fron other, mostly, dysfunctional, people as well as from mistakes it makes about everyday life and past experiences which it refuses to relearn.
I covered most of these mistakes in my previous article in this series: How to Stop Worrying. But the basic mistake Headmind makes when faced with any challenging situation is to replay old, unhelpful, stories from the past which give you the idea that you are a complete mess. These ‘Headmind tapes’ are like a record stuck on the groove that tell you over and over again that you are facing disaster.
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 Headmind tape and I refer you to the previous article in this series in order to get some more help on this. Once you have identified some destructive thinking patterns you are in a good position to identify the tape contents.
These ‘tapes’ are repetitive, conscious, or semi-conscious, ideas which 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 analyse the tape.
This may take some practice and the fourth step, which relates to practising Awareness, is crucial here. I will elaborate more on that step when I get to it but here is a previous article on the subject here. Be aware that these ‘ideas’ may not be thoughts as such. Instead they might take the form of images or self-dialogue which you hadn’t realised (until you practised Awareness) were there at all.
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 fucked-up
- Flash-backs to past traumas
- Injunctions to ‘get it right or else…’
Once you have identified the crap that Headmind is relaying on to you the next step is simple. And that is change position; to distance yourself from it, treating as something alien to you. A good way to do that is to engage in some self-dialogue:
- The Chatterbox is working overtime today…
- Those stupid tapes are 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.