When You Can’t Stop Thinking the Bad Thought
We know that whatever we focus on is where our life is headed.
If we’re tuned into problems and complaints, that’s what life has in store. On the other hand, if we’re dialed on what’s working well and how good it feels, we’ve got a happy journey ahead.
Conscious creators know this, and yet sometimes still find ourselves stuck with a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad thought that we can’t seem to shake.
Like when management announces impending layoffs, and we repeatedly entertain bad scenarios about what that might mean.
Or when our sister-in-law says that mean thing about our kid and we’re too polite to respond out loud, but can’t stop thinking about what we really want to say to her.
Or when we saw that lost dog on the road on our way to work, and can’t stop worrying about what might happen to it.
Times like that we can find ourselves stuck in loops of fear, anger or resentment, which we know don’t lead to happy endings.
So what to do when we can’t pry attention off the bad thought?
Let me remind something before I answer that …
You, my friend, are a conscious creator. Thinking new thoughts is what you do. That’s the name of our game, and you are much more capable of it than you give yourself credit for when you think you can’t stop thinking the bad thoughts.
(I’m not talking about mental disorders or drug-induced paranoia. I’m talking about the day-in day-out challenge where conscious creators learn how to regularly find thoughts that feel better.)
You can think a new thought. You can redirect your attention. You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again. This is well within your skill set.
Yes, I’ll grant that some thoughts are easier to drop than others.
But you can still do it. Even when it’s hard.
Because your thoughts are not the boss of you. You’re the one running this show, and this is an ideal time to remind yourself that.
It can be as simple as this:
- Find a better feeling thought, OR
- release all thought (by meditating or going to sleep).
I myself am not a great napper, and also am not a fan of meditation (at least not in the traditional form). Over the years I have discovered that I will do just about anything to avoid meditation.
So if I had to choose between finding a better feeling thought or suspending the thinking process through meditation, I guarantee you I can find a better thought.
Worst case scenario, though, meditation will do the trick (if it’s not close to bedtime and I could just go to sleep instead).
If you’re someone who loves to meditate, you’re home free! Just do that!
Or even if you don’t like meditating, try taking seven deep breaths. Gremlin thoughts can’t hang on that well when we drop down and focus on the breath for a minute or two. It’s like kryptonite for gremlins.
But even if none of that floats your boat, you could resort to fancier tricks like:
- Giving the unwanted thought a Mickey Mouse voice. (It’s hard to be scared of anything Mickey says.)
- Following Esther’s lead by naming ten good things about the situation. (Yes, that takes skills, but if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve got skills!)
- Distracting yourself with something bright and shiny reserved specifically for occasions like this. (Chakra Beatbox by MC Yogi is a perfect bad-thought disruptor for me.)
- Asking what benefit you get from hanging on to this unwanted thought. Maybe there’s a secret payoff that will reveal it’s actually serving you in a way you didn’t realize.
- Considering an official vibration detox to release addiction to anxious thoughts.
- Imagining what you’d say to a loved one who was stuck with this negative thought. You’d likely know just what to say to ease their mind, right? Ease your own.
But truly, I don’t think it has to be that complicated.
Find a thought that feels better, or stop thinking so much (through meditation).
Potential better feeling thoughts that might work:
- I don’t have to figure this out right now.
- It’s probably not as big a deal as I’m making it.
- This contrasty-thought is conjuring up something good.
- I’ll likely feel better about this later. It just needs to simmer a bit.
- It’s easier than I’m realizing in this red hot moment.
- Things have a way of sorting themselves out when I find a way to relax about it.
- I’ve handled bigger things than this.
- I’m better at this and more capable than I realize.
- I’ve got good help on board (my angels are probably sorting it out right now).
- Things always work out for me – one way or another, sooner or later.
- I’m rocking step one! 🙂
You know the thoughts that work for you. It might be worth writing them down so next time gremlins get noisy you can just read your better thoughts off a sheet of paper rather than relying on memory to get there.
Working with the troubling thought first requires that you’re aware when it’s activated. That’s easy to tell when you’re paying attention to how you feel.
It’s also easier to work with your thoughts when you’ve got good self-care on board. (Meaning you’re properly refreshed and energized.) Thought work is harder when you’re sleep deprived or improperly fueled.
So the next time you think you can’t stop thinking the bad thing, remember that you’ve got skills. You know how to think a new thought. You know how to feel around a variety of them until you find one that offers best relief. And then that’s your new thought, until you find one that feels even better than that.
This is what we conscious creators do. We think better feeling thoughts. That’s literally what we do. The same way teenagers break rules and cats throw up, conscious creators find better feeling thoughts.
And when that’s the kind of challenge you don’t feel up for, just a five minute meditation or a 15 minute nap or seven deep breaths will do the trick instead.
See? I knew you could do it. 🙂