Living under old belief systems that keep us stuck can be automatic for us. Mindfulness practice and other tools that assist you in accessing the power of your whole-brain can help you identify these destructive thought patterns so you can move forward instead of just spinning in place. When we become aware of them and their cause we can shed light on these ineffective thoughts, release them and jump off the carousel. From there you can replace them with constructive systems and continue onto the path you are craving to be on.
Here are a few steps to help you:
1st Step: Quiet and Gentle check-in with your thoughts
Sit in a quiet place GENTLY notice where your mind takes you. Being gentle and non-judgmental is important because any judgmental “thoughts of your thoughts” is going to feed the hurtful cycle. I know that sometimes the thought of being alone with our thoughts is intimidating in itself but trust me that much power lies in this quiet practice. Journaling, sharing them with a friend, and/or joining a supportive mindfulness group are great ways to practice this awareness process.
2nd Step: Reality Check
It’s AMAZING how untrue our thoughts can be. Whether it’s an ingrained message from our childhood OR an irrational belief we hold of ourselves, or both, it can be quite life changing to recognize what thoughts we play over and over that aren’t even true. Again, a professional along with support can really help you become aware of and confront these destructive patterns in a safe and structured environment. Individual counseling and groups with a mindfulness focus give you time and space to do exactly that.
3rd Step: Soft and Immediate Replacement
Now that you know what thoughts you don’t need, you need something more to interrupt the cycle. The next time those heavy, destructive thoughts creep in, try replacing them with one of these “ARTS of DISTRACTION.”
Deep Breath. A Song. Affirmation/Mantra/Grateful thought. Engaging Your Senses (Which are all the right brain tools you can find in the creative brain challenge.)
4th Step: Continual Practice
Like everything in life, practice makes better. When you think uplifting and constructive thoughts, you have more energy, feel better and your mind feels clearer, fresher, like the Spring air. That renewal will free you from the past and take you to the place you’re longing to move into. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I promise it will become more and more natural each time you practice it.
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Jennifer Carey Ed.S., LMHC
Jennifer has been teaching and counseling individuals and groups for over a decade. Her counseling background combined with certificate as a Reiki Master Practitioner provides a strong foundation in helping others learn, heal and grow through mindfulness practices.