Do you ever have thought patterns that you know aren’t serving you, but the patterns keep coming around and around like a tilt-a-whirl, until you want to throw up?
Our minds are tricky that way – they like to have something to chew on, and they love drama. So, inevitably, we end up latching on to thoughts that create emotional sensations. It’s addictive and it’s painful.
The good news is that you’re in charge. The bad news is that you likely don’t know it yet.
We often put ourselves in a position of submission to our mind, like it’s the boss.
In order to firmly establish your position as head honcho – you need to become mentally tough. This isn’t theoretical; you can literally condition your inner strength so that when your self-sabotaging thoughts start doing rounds, you can knock them out.
Here are five ways to shape your inner landscape.
- Meditate. Meditation is one of the best ways to “play” with what’s going on in your mind. Then you have the opportunity to come back to the current experience, noticing your breath, and returning to focus.
It’s not always easy to start meditating, hell it’s not always easy to meditate when you’ve been doing it for years, the point isn’t to be perfect, and the objective here is to practice. Practice letting thoughts flow in, and releasing them. Again and again. I’ve created a free grounding and relaxing meditation for you to start with here: http://thedragontree.com/meditation1.
- Experience temperatures that are outside of your comfort zone. Now this may seem like an odd idea –bear with me.
When our temperature is comfortable, our minds don’t make a peep. But when we get hot or cold, our minds start setting off alarms – put on a sweater, build a fire, find ice water, get some friggin’ air conditioning, right?
As long as the temperature is not a safety issue, we can use this experience to play with our thoughts – and become tougher. If your body is cold and your mind wants to whine and complain until you do something about it, see if you can allow those thoughts to go. And simply feel your body and don’t make up what it means. We want to add meaning to our physical sensations, in all sorts of situations – especially emotional experiences that create physical sensations. So if you practice with temperature sensations, you will gain strength that will carry over to when your mind wants to get all dramatic about other situations.
- Watch your thoughts as they arise and choose whether to participate with them. It’s kind of like being picked on by a big bully. Thoughts arise about how you’re fat, or lazy, or not good enough, and you can choose to battle them all day long, or you can imagine them as a burly 6-foot, 5 dude in the alley with a baseball bat waiting to kick your butt, and simply take another path. Don’t engage.
- Push your body. Similarly to experiencing hot and cold, when you work out push yourself to the edge, be willing to be uncomfortable. (Of course you want to make sure not to injure yourself.) When you start to really feel the burn, when you want to stop, or at least pull back a bit – go deeper. Your mind is telling you to avoid discomfort, but it’s just physical sensations, and when you can override your mind chatter telling you to stop, you gain power over your mind.
- Put yourself in social situations that push your boundaries. Attend gathering where you don’t know anyone, and then tap into your inner strength and use it to be the life of the party.
Our minds get real loud when we feel uncomfortable, but the majority of what they say is total crap. You are worthy of friendship, people do like you, and you can make casual conversation with pretty much anyone. After all, their minds are doing the same abusive stuff to them, so you might-as-well help them out by being kind to them.
This is an exercise in building strength. In letting your mind do what it does, and overriding it to do what you want…and having fun!
You’re the boss.
Don’t forget it.