“Put your thoughts to sleep.
Do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart.
Let go of thinking.”
Overcoming Negative Thoughts – My Main Tip To Start Your Self Love Revolution
Are you bombarded by a chatter of thoughts that keep you awake at night? You aren’t alone.
The question I get asked most often of all is about overcoming negative thoughts. So many of my clients ask: How can I stop all these thoughts in my head??? They keep me awake at night, they bring me down, they keep me stuck playing small … but first and foremost they just steal my peace of mind and joy of life.
Because let’s face it! The thoughts that keep you awake at night are not very nice. Quite the opposite, they tend to be negative, anxiety provoking, self-bullying, filled with annoyance or resentment or playing worst case scenarios on repeat. Sad, dark and often quite repetitive.
Not only do they awake a whole cascade of not-so-nice feelings and emotions but they also make you feel annoyed/guilty/helpless for not being able to stop them, no matter how hard you try. And you do try hard!
So this is a little trick for you to try. It’s simple but very powerful. And of course, a lot of deeper work might be needed to find a long-lasting and sustainable solution. But you can think of this one as a really strong pain killer you can take in the moment to get some quick relief (and a bit of sleep).
As soon as you catch yourself all immersed in your mind’s chatter start LISTENING.
I know, I know, that’s the last thing you want to do, right? You don’t want to listen, you want to get rid of this never – ending voice in your head and have a bit of silence. A moment of peace. I know, but please bear with me, and give it a try.
Start listening to these thoughts. Start listening to them as you would to your dear friend, or even better, to a 5-year-old child.
With attention and warmth. Yes, with kindness and curiosity.
This might require a bit of practice at the start, but it is so worth it!
Listen To These Two Things When Overcoming Negative Thoughts
First of all, listen for feelings and do your best to name them. What feelings are hiding beneath these thoughts?
Say to yourself for example: ‘Oh, I can hear you’re really frustrated with how things are going at work’ or ‘ I can see you feel so lonely in this relationship’ Or ‘I can see you are really scared about your blood tests results’
And you can add ‘I’m sorry you’re feeling that way’ if you want to be extra nice to yourself.
Try to name the feelings as precisely as you can. Name it to tame it, as they say. A name gives you a bit of a distance to what is going on and this in itself can feel like a huge relief.
Secondly, listen for longings. Beneath every feeling, there is a deep longing.
Ask your thoughts why this thing they keep talking about is so important? What would they want instead? (all the time talking to your thoughts as you would to a dear friend, or 5-year-old child. Curiosity and warmth.)
‘So you want to feel appreciated at work, right?’ ‘
You want to feel listened to and loved by your partner/spouse.
‘You want to feel safe, healthy and full of energy’
Listen carefully. These thoughts are not your enemy. They are doing their best to take care of you and keep you well.
Developing Kindness To Negative Thoughts Will Help You Move Forward
Once you’ve fully grasped this idea, you will feel a shift. There is always a shift when you start to talk (or think) to yourself with more understanding, kindness and compassion. Sometimes this shift is subtle at the beginning but it’s always there. You’re putting an end to the inner war that has been draining your attention and energy. There is a bit of softening and a relief that comes as a result – there can even be a tear or two, and that’s ok.
You see we are so used to living in our heads. And living in your head is not a very pleasant experience, to say the least. In the meantime, your heart-brain and your gut-brain (did you know that you have them?) – are ready and waiting to make your life easier, fuller and more authentic.
3 Benefits To Overcome Your Hurtful Inner Dialogue
When you start listening to this voice in your head with curiosity and warmth, treating it as your friend, rather than an enemy you need to fight and resist, 3 things happen:
1.You stop adding another layer of suffering and pain that comes with your strong, negative reaction to your own thoughts. When you start listening with compassion, instead of getting all wind-up, irritated and beating yourself up, there is a sense of comfort and ease that follows. At least you don’t have to fight with yourself anymore.
2. You build some distance towards the voice in your head. This brings a lot of relief because you realize that all these thoughts are just a small part of you. You are much, much bigger (and more powerful) than the voice speaking in your head – and yes, it can be annoying, nasty or even bullying at times but it’s just a voice in your head. IT IS NOT YOU.
3.You start engaging other parts of your nervous system – your other brains- your heart brain and your gut-brain to help you navigate through life. I promise you, they are true game-changers. The peace, wisdom, confidence, love you long for do not live in your head. You need to reconnect to your whole body experience if you want to finally find them.
Your head brain is a brilliant tool but it’s not designed to be in charge. When you allow it to be in charge, it creates a lot of confusion and mess (in spite of its best intentions). It keeps you disconnected from others, from the world and from yourself as well. And… it keeps your thoughts running wild into the darkest corners of your imagination.
Once you learn how to go deeper and notice what’s going on in your body, in your heart and in your belly, life becomes a totally different experience.
Listening to your thoughts is a great exercise to start with. So again, whenever you catch yourself getting all wind-up, frustrated and annoyed with the chatter in your head, just stop resisting and start listening. Listen for feelings and name them. Listen for longings and name them. With curiosity, warmth and self-compassion. And then…take a deep breath and notice the shift. No need to be at war with yourself anymore. All parts of you are doing their best to keep you well. Always.
I have created a special Workbook, full of simple but powerful practices, to get you started on the path to turn the volume of your intrusive thoughts down and to start moving out of your head and back into your amazing body –YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT HERE.