Negative thoughts can be worse than a nightmare! Not only do they make you lose sleep at night but also mess up your ability to focus during the day, steal your peace of mind and drain your energy out. We notoriously underestimate how often our tiredness, exhaustion and low energy levels have mental and emotional roots.
So, if you tend to get lost in the negative chatter of your mind it’s essential for you to learn effective ways to put your overactive mind at peace. Only then will you be able to regain your peace and happiness and create a rich, full and meaningful life.
What most of us do to free ourselves from negative thoughts and why it doesn’t work.
Negative thoughts come in every shape and form. But all of them trigger very uncomfortable emotions. They might be anxiety-provoking, self-bullying, filled with regret or resentment or playing worst-case scenarios on repeat. And once they get hold of your attention, it’s not easy to stop them. Even if you try very hard. Because this is what we instinctively try to do, right?
We try to stop these thoughts.
We try to get rid of them.
And we try (hard) to relax instead.
But most often the more you try to relax the tenser you become. You can’t really relax by forcing yourself to do it.
This is exactly what keeps you stuck in a vicious circle.
The more you fight with what’s going on in your head the more frustrated you become.
Now, you have to deal not only with all your negative thoughts but also with all the frustration (or anger or anxiety) coming from not being able to stop them. If you continue you will probably add disappointment, guilt or even helplessness to this list as you realize more and more painfully that you are not able to stay in charge of your own thoughts.
All this works like a snowball that grows bigger and bigger and gets more and more difficult to stop. In the meantime, there is no chance, of course, to fall asleep, to focus on your task, or be fully present for someone you love.
I’m sure you know by now, this way doesn’t work very well.
Understand what your negative thoughts are trying to do for you.
This chatter of thoughts in your head (no matter how negative or disturbing it might be) is there for a reason. It’s not random. It is your nervous system’s attempt to cope with the situation you’re in.
This is crucial to understand -your brain is not being mean to you and it is not trying to make your life harder!
Quite the opposite- it is trying to keep you safe and well. Now, we can all agree that going over and over through all these negative thoughts is not the best way to keep you well, nor the most pleasant or effective. But acknowledging that the intentions behind your negative thoughts are always good, brings on a different perspective.
For example, you might be anxious about something that’s going to happen in future and your mind goes over all the things that might go wrong. Your brain is not trying to torture you but doing its best to make sure you are well prepared for whatever might come. Maybe it is all about making a decision, and your brain does its utmost to save you from potential negative consequences. Maybe you can’t sleep because you’re ruminating about something you said or did and now regret it or something someone else said or did and you’re still pissed off about it. In both cases, it is your brain analysing what went wrong and how to prevent this from happening again.
Ultimately, your brain always tries to analyse the situation from various angles and figure out what you need to do to survive, avoid pain and seek pleasure. It is doing its job. Your head brain’s job is to make sure you survive while avoiding as much pain and getting as much pleasure as possible in the process.
The problem is that your brain has access to a very limited set of data, can’t think outside the box and in situations like that it just goes around in loops. Round and round in circles, never arriving anywhere. If you want to get out of the loop, you need to try something different.
The first step to getting more freedom from the negative chatter in your head
If you want to create more peace the first step is always to stop fighting.
Instead of desperately trying to stop your thoughts, acknowledge your brain’s efforts to keep you well and start building some distance to this automatic and repetitive activity going on in your mind.
You see the secret here is not to get rid of the thoughts but to learn how to be ok and at peace even with this chatter playing like a radio in the background.
Because your thoughts will be there always. If you get serious about practising meditation, after a while you might start to have glimpses into the silence, where there are no thoughts. But generally, for most of us, in our everyday life, thoughts are always there.
However… they don’t have to ruin your life or steal your peace of mind. They don’t even have to bother you.
Just remember – you are not your thoughts! You are so much bigger than any of them. You might think about them as clouds in the sky, coming and going. And you… you are not a cloud, you are the sky.
Some clouds are blue and fluffy some are dark and stormy. Sometimes the sky is almost clear and sometimes it’s covered with clouds. The clouds come and go and you don’t have to go to war with them.
There are plenty of simple and easy tools to use if you want to learn to build this distance between you and your thoughts – so that you don’t get blurred with them so much. But your best, easier and most powerful tools are your body and your breath.
Once you decide to stop fighting with your negative thoughts, simply refocus your attention on your breath and your body.
Your breath is always here and now, your body is always here and now. Once you learn how to bring your attention to them and keep it there – you will see that the volume of this chatter starts to decrease more and more. And the day will come that it won’t bother you at all.
Why do you need to stop living only in your head?
Once you learn how to refocus from negative thoughts into your body and breath, your life gains a totally new dimension.
Because living life from the head is a very miserable experience.
You will never be happy and fulfilled if you live primarily in your head.
So many of us seem to be totally unaware (and not very interested) of what is happening from our neck downwards unless we have some kind of pain or discomfort. But there is a lot happening there!
Did you know that you actually have 3 brains?
You have your skull brain which we are all so focused upon but you also have a heart-brain and a gut-brain. You have even more neurons (brain cells) in your heart complex and in your gut than you do in your head brain.
Your heart brain processes feelings and emotions. It is in charge of your values and your relationships. It is in your heart that your personal and spiritual growth happens. No amount of head thinking is going to help you with that.
Your gut-brain is responsible for your sense of identity and self-preservation. It oversees your whole immune system. And it is the ultimate decision-maker. You know it, right? I’m sure you have made decisions ‘following your gut’ before.
So, if you are a ‘head person’, and if the title of this blog post resonated with you, chances are you might be, there is a bit of work to be done here.
You need to rediscover and reclaim the power of your heart-brain and gut-brain so that you can be whole again.
Because once you are whole again, your head brain with its automatic, negative chatter, will be put into perspective very quickly and will no longer keep you awake at night or distracted and tired during the day.
Your best allies here are:
-meditations, relaxations, visualisations
-creative exercises and practices (art -therapy, journaling, arts and crafts etc.)
-body-mind techniques (yoga, tai-chi etc)
They will help you reconnect to all parts of yourself – your mind, your heart, your body and your spirit so that they can cooperate and stay in balance as they are supposed to. But no quick fixes here, this journey requires time and practice and preferably the right kind of support.
And that is exactly why I have created a very special space where you can do it in the safest, easiest and most enjoyable way possible. A space where you have all the support you might need and the amazing company of other women that are on the same journey as you. Click below to learn more about the Self-Love Incubator Inner Circle and how it can be a real game-changer for you, too!