Negative Thought Detox
For this post, I thought I’d share my article on negative thought detox, which is a way to rid your mind of negative influences. Interesting that the word influenza and influence both come from the same root, flu, meaning flow. When you are under the influence you are in the flow, receiving a stream of whatever is directed your way, be it of thoughts, images, toxins or pathogens. You certainly wouldn’t want to stand downstream from someone who was sneezing and coughing phlegm your way. You’d be aware you might catch a nasty virus from them and you’d take precautions to remove or protect yourself. In the same way, it doesn’t make sense to stand in the receiving end of a barrage of toxic thoughts, and there are mindfulness practices that can help you protect yourself from these thought viruses. Please check the tips below and let me know what you think.
Enjoy the last days of easy summer living!
Negative Thought Detox
Just like you might occasionally undergo a cleanse to rid your body of toxins, why not consider taking a week to clear your mind of its habitual thought patterns? This is a helpful practice for those who suffer from runaway worry or anxiety, and for all it’s a great way to kickstart your commitment to mindful living.
Here are a few ways to help you negative thought detox:
1) Take a break from news media. Messages of environmental gloom and doom, corrupt politicians, subway delays, escalating home prices and police violence are easily a day’s headlines where I live here in Toronto. Do you notice they call it a news feed? Indeed some restaurants even run constant news headlines while you eat. People will take care to eat nourishing meals, yet allow their minds to be force fed a diet of constant fear. Some people worry that if they are not constantly checking news feeds they will miss something. But trust me if a major worldevent happens, you’ll hear about it. I was at the cottage with no wifi or newspapers, and believe me Charlottesville made it to me. In the meantime do you really need to fill your head with the latest presidential tweet on North Korea. That’s like nourishing your mind with the equivalent of a a deep fried poutine covered liquorice stick. Detox. Take a break. You won’t miss it as much as you think, and you will feel more optimistic about the world.
2) Limit your exposure to complaining, as this is a real energy sucker. Now it’s easy to label others the complaining culprits, (and yes there are some people who seem to come with their own whinging soundtrack), but it seems these days we live in a victim culture. Everyone even those considered privileged are in a race to to out do each other in being hard done by. So let’s all be responsible for our part in this. The next time you find yourself in the firing line of a tirade, try and gently steer the conversation in another direction, and if that fails, then simply send the person love. Also watch out for your own complaining. You may be surprised at how many innocuous little complaints you make in one day. If you notice you are belly aching, take a big belly breath and see if you can release it. And don’t worry about the fact you are doing it, just congratulate yourself on being self aware. There’s no point beating yourself up. Which brings me to the next point:
3) Commit to self care. Do things that make you feel good. Go for a walk in nature, find a summer read (Thanks to my 9 year old i’m reading the Harry Potter books for the first time). Buy an awesome hat, go the drive-in with someone special, take a course. Binge watch Game of Thrones. It will vary from person to person; the only criteria; it makes you feel good. Nothing inoculates you better from negative influences than feeling good. Oh and share good news stories, they are out there!
4) Keep a gratitude journal. Write down a few things every night and every morning for which you are grateful. Quite simply you can not hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time. By reinforcing gratitude instead of those negative loops you habitually play, you are exercising your mind muscles. This is mindfulness training; learning to exercise new thoughts just as you would exercise new muscles. And they will get stronger with use.
5) Pay attention to how you feel. As you start to detox you may feel emotions again, and even if they are not so favourable, this is a great thing. If you have been feeling overwhelmed your emotional guidance system may have shut down. Feeling strong emotions means you are returning to clarity. Try and coax yourself to thinking along this line. “Wow I notice, I am feeling more than a bit angry about this. Hmm this is good, it’s letting me know my guidance system is rebooting, turning on again. Good hmm letting me know this is something I do not want. So what do I want ? Hmm…” And on that I’ll leave off as I’ve leaked the topic for our upcoming post on… desires.
Wishing you an abundance of joy and love,