In the last blog, I talked about the benefits of mind control and how we distract ourselves when the negative voice gets too loud. Hopefully by now you are ready to receive the “how-to” steps for silencing that voice and taking back control of your mind.
For those of you with ADHD or if you love someone who has it, please understand that ADHD thoughts are longer, stronger and harder to control. The ADHD brain is wired for repetition. Rumination sets in. When that happens, it’s even harder to stop. But don’t give up; it is possible to control.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a negative voice inside his head. It’s part of life. It’s called free will. It gives you the chance to make smart choices, improve your self and grow to become a better version of yourself.
(We’ll talk about that in the next blog … BECOMING FRIENDS WITH YOUR NEGATIVE VOICE)
But until those benefits happen, you have to deal with negative thoughts that ambush you all day and night. Sometimes they hide in the depths of your subconscious mind, and at other times they are right in front of your face. During the day, negative thinking is more manageable. You are distracted by work, family, and responsibility. Then night rolls around, and you think you’re ok. You fall asleep but four hours later, you are jolted awake staring into the darkness. Did you ever notice that your negative voices are louder in the dark?
That’s when you lose control. Your twisted thoughts distort reality. Not knowing what to do, you sit back and watch the horror movie in your mind. Helpless and spiraling out of control, you try hard but can’t stop the frightening images your imagination has created.
Since negative thoughts are sneaky, and they appear in disguise, they show up as fear, doubt, or anxiety. Just one small thought and your imagination is triggered, tumbling into a wild whirling cyclone that knocks you off your feet. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change your thought process.
TAKING BACK CONTROL
Mind control is a character strength that improves the quality of your life. You may not be able to stop the initial trigger thought, but you can take back the controls and not succumb to them. You don’t have to get swept away.
Here’s how to get a grip on it:
1. Be aware. Be prepared.
When you are aware, you are mentally strong enough to fight off the thoughts you don’t want. Negative thinking happens to everyone. No one (that I know) can escape the initial trigger thought. What matters most is what happens after it that one thought. I’m not saying that you should become anxious waiting for negativity to arrive, it just means that when you are aware, you recognize when that trigger thought happens and knock it out immediately. The more aware you are, the quicker you grab hold of your mind and take back the control.
2. Name it.
When you are stuck in negativity, and feel yourself falling into dark thoughts, stop the cycle by naming it. Whether you whisper it, or say it out loud, naming it causes a separation in your subconscious mind. That is enough to break the cycle. When I was suffering from panic attacks, naming what was happening is what saved me. The negative force is strong but you can be stronger. Name it to stop the cycle.
3. Fear is illogical.
I remember when I was having hurricane shutters put up on my 14th-floor apartment. The workmen were hanging on ropes on the side of the building. There was no balcony beneath them or anything to fall onto, except the ground below. When they finished, they came into the apartment. I was standing there with my sweet, gentle 85-pound Labrador on a leash when one of the high-flying workers freaked out. He was so afraid of my dog; he wouldn’t step foot in the apartment. He’d rather stay on the balcony railing 14 stories high (where he jumped to) than come near my dog. I had to take my dog to another room so he could come in. It taught me an important lesson; a person can be incredibly brave in one aspect of life, and illogically fearful in another. Fear makes no sense.
4. Erase and Replace.
Sometimes just saying, “erase and replace” is enough. It’s a positive mantra that kicks out negativity and makes room for positive thoughts to enter. It also helps to have a “replace” statement ready for use when you need it. One word is all you need. You may choose, “stop” or “no” or “go.” Chant it. Repeat it over and over again. Scream it, sing it, or be creative. Find a replacement word or phrase that will stop the negative cyclone. Other simple and helpful phrases are, let go or everything is fine. Find a replacement that will stop the negativity. Isn’t that why the song from Frozen become so popular? Even little kids subconsciously appreciate the importance of letting go.
5. Do a reality check.
Many times I’ve given myself a gentle pat on my face just to snap back to reality. The imagination is a strong force when the negative thought cyclone gets hold of it. You believe what you think. When in reality, it’s just a movie you have created in your mind. And if you’re a creative person; your creations are intense, making them more realistic. If you’re into statistics, this one is easy. What are the chances of your visions becoming reality? Sadly, our loved ones put themselves in situations that haunt us all day and night. So it’s up to you to wipe out those thoughts and bring yourself back to reality.
6. Present Moment Mindfulness
If you are going to take control of your thoughts, you need a mental support system. Present Moment Mindfulness works instantly. When you are caught up in the negative whirlwind, recognize it, erase and replace, and bring your attention to whatever you are doing. If you are washing the dishes and feel your mind meandering onto a dark path, notice what you are doing and whisper it, I am washing the dishes. I feel the soap bubbling on my hands. The water feels warm, and then let yourself go with it. It sounds silly at first, but it really works. My favorite phrase from a meditation I used to teach is… breathing in I feel calm, breathing out I feel ease. Calm, ease, calm, ease.
7. It’s your choice.
Remember, this is your freedom of choice; your chance to determine which path you want to take-who you want to be with, what career you want to be in, and what you want to eat for dinner. It’s up to you. You get to choose how long the negativity stays in your mind.
Let me know if you can do it! It’s not easy, but it’s possible.