Don’t Take Them All Seriously
Every thought that either enters your mind or is created by it doesn’t need to be taken seriously. Try observing your thoughts and action those that are helpful and simply notice but don’t act on the others. The helpful thoughts are those that encourage and support you to live the life you want to live.
The importance of noticing our unhelpful thoughts and refusing to act on them can never be underestimated. The research is clear on this with the majority of physical and mental health illness comes from destructive thoughts, even more than environmental or genetic factors.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Philippians 4:8 NLT
Self-awareness is characterized by the process of knowing what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. Truth is, unless we step out of auto-pilot mode by the means of self-awareness we will be reactive people rather than responsive people. Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment whereas responsive people are value driven and produce good quality work regardless of their physical environment. After all, as Victor Frankyl so eloquently states, between stimulus and response is our freedom to choose.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how“Friedrich Nietzsche
Respond Don’t React
At times, our minds feed us a constant flow of destructive thoughts that we often agree with so quickly we end up finding ourselves in a state of emotional turmoil.
What we need to do is to build up our ability to recognise when those destructive thoughts come upon us (I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m not good enough, I’m a failure etc) and remember that we have a choice as to how we will respond to them. Acknowledge but don’t react.
Remember These 3 Steps:
1) Acknowledge but don’t react
2) Breathe and reconnect with your immediate physical experience
3) Choose to act on your values!
When you struggle with your distressing thoughts, it’s like struggling against quicksand, it will either overwhelm you to the point of emotional breakdown OR it will prevent you from living the life you really want.
Okay, so you might be able to ‘get rid’ of your distressing thoughts temporarily by distracting yourself with substances or even technology, but how long does it last? How long until that inner critic comes back and starts harassing you again?
There is a BETTER way! We can learn how to manage those distressing thoughts and disarm them of their power and influence, so we can live by our values and live the life we desire! It is the process of accepting, noticing and unhooking yourself from those distressing thoughts.
Social anxiety is very common in contemporary society. It is the fear of social situations that involve human interaction. Many people say that they fear being judged or negatively evaluated by other people, they hate groups or have a hard time with eye contact.
It is a huge task for someone who struggles with social anxiety to make social plans, especially if they have to wait a couple of weeks until it has ‘arrived’. This can be very draining and taxing with someone who struggles with social anxiety. I have two quick yet challenging tips to give:
Notice When Your Mind Runs Ahead
*Notice whenever your thoughts starting racing off into the future event (providing you with a whole range of ‘what if’ stories) and gently bring your attention and focus back into the present moment. Notice the room around you, what can you see, touch smell or taste? This will help your mind come back into the present moment by reconnecting with your bodily experience.
Plan For Certainty
*Plan (loosely) If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. What worked well at your last social outing? Did you have a set time when you would leave? Do you have a secret message you can communicate to your husband when you’re ready to leave? These little safety plans and procedures can help establish some certainty and reduce some of that uncertainty.