In stressful times, a particular negative thought may arise again and again - in the middle of dinner, at bedtime, during a phone call, or whenever you least expect it. Before writing off an intrusive thought as a bother, consider whether your brain is urging you to consider dedicating undivided attention to the matter. During challenging times, it's more important than ever to thoughtfully assess present circumstances and make practical, realistic plans for the future.
If you've already done all you can and are still bothered by an intrusive thought, consider trying an ancient remedy for managing the mind. These techniques are based on the understanding that all kinds of thoughts, feelings, and reactions arise from the mind. That's the nature of the mind. Choice comes in how we respond. If your response is to fuel that thought, taking it to the next level, adding intensity, suffering is magnified. If your response is to wrestle with it or criticize it, again, suffering increases. Consider one of these time-honored approaches instead:
Trace the source. As soon as you identify a thought, ask yourself what you were thinking or feeling immediately before that thought. Continue tracing the previous seconds of mental processing, as far back as you can. At first it may seem that thoughts arise out of nowhere; however, with practice, you will discover the fascinating nature of how thoughts arise in your own mind. If you like mental games and other challenges, you might especially enjoy this technique.
Mind the gap. It may seem like thoughts are constantly streaming through the mind, uncontrolled and overlapping. However, even in the most active mind, there are subtle spaces between thoughts, like sky peeking between clouds. Practice actively seeking these gaps; over time you may experience a sense of freedom despite the parade thoughts.
Cancel with opposites. One reason why some nagging thoughts are so bothersome is that deep down, we suspect the thought is not accurate, or at least not the whole truth. This ancient worry cancelling method involves cultivating the opposite thought. The opposite may not be the whole truth either; however, just considering the opposite for a moment can have a balancing effect. A bird with one wing flaps around in a circle on the ground; a bird with two balanced wings can fly away.
It amazes me that although civilization has changed a lot over the millennia, thousands of years ago people suffered mental struggles similar to those of modern times. Explore these techniques for yourself, and see whether you experience relief.
This information is purely educational and does not replace a physician's advice that may be unique to each individual. For all medical concerns, please see a physician to establish a diagnosis and explore proven treatments. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company or REAL Powered by Humana program.