If you have ever had a session with me, you know how much I refer to the 5 Things, how important I believe these concepts are in discipling our mind and controlling the negative thought loops that turn round and round in our head.
The 5 Things are deceptively simple, easy to disregard, but their impact when mastered is powerful, allowing you to manage your emotions, control your anxiety and keep the dark thoughts at bay.
The 5 Things are Simply
What…..are you thinking about:
If you do not know what you are thinking about then how can you know if you agree with your thoughts? Your brain is designed to scan for potential danger. It’s part of our survival hardware. Parts of our brain are always scanning our environment looking for any potential harm. What ends up happening if we are not monitoring our thoughts is that they become very negative, catastrophic and exaggerated.
The first step to controlling your thoughts is knowing exactly what thoughts you are thinking!
Why…am I thinking this:
Once you know what your thought is, you want to ask yourself a quick question…why am I thinking this, why is this important or relevant for me to think about right now? It is important – very important – for you to realize this is not meant to be a psychoanalytical assessment but rather “is this thought worthy of my time”. Sometimes, well maybe often, our brains are bored and are just worrying for the sake of worrying. Like a bored dog chewing the couch leg, if our brain is not being stimulated it can start “chewing” on worry. So, if you are thinking about obscure or outlandish events perhaps you just need to redirect your brain to something more relevant. If you have decided your thought is worthy of your time, then you continue…
Real….is this true:
I love this step. I love reminding myself…just because I think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Right! We tell ourselves all sorts of outlandish lies, we believe our own insecurities and paranoia without ever questioning the legitimacy of the thought. Do NOT allow your brain to lie to you…check your thought and check your specific word choice.
Not Real…is this untrue:
No matter how negative or self-deprecating our thought might be, we need to check in and counter the reality of our thought. This step is really important for thoughts that begin with “I always” or “I never”. I am not sure what exactly you are thinking, but I am sure that “always” and “never” are NOT true!
Do…what am I going to do about it:
One of the most important steps. No matter how bad things might be, no matter how real that bad thing is…once we focus on the “do” our stress is greatly reduced. Without this step we become “Chicken Little”, running around in a dramatic circle, wringing our hands and crying “the sky is falling” …. OK so if your sky is falling what exactly are you going to do about it??? That is what we need to focus on, that is where we gain our personal power back. By focusing and directing our thoughts on action we drastically reduce the emotional funnel of stress that can overwhelm us.
So, now you know what the 5 Things are, you need to use them. As many times a day as you can (you may want to set an alarm on your phone to help you remember), every time you feel negative emotions calling you, pause, and run through the 5 Things. Wait. Stop. Hold on. What Am I thinking? Why? Is that Real? Is that Not Real? Ok, What am I going to DO about that?
If you want more help learning this technique, feel free to book an appointment with me and we can review your specific thoughts and overcome any blocks you may be having….