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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Who's In Control?

Hey All -- One more week till the Super Bowl, and the NHL All Star Game was apparently a high-scoring good time.

Recently, a friend of mine found herself in a rough patch.  A few unfortunate circumstances were happening to her, but she found that her own reactions to them were hurting her more than the circumstances themselves.  She began to feel that she was not in control of her thoughts or feelings, and that she was spiraling out of control.

However, she was able to what Neil Simon called, "unscrew the top of your head and take your brains out."  She knew what was happening, and she knew it had to stop.  Eventually, she figured out how to talk those thoughts out of her head, and stay focused on the here and now.

Many of us have had the same thing happen -- we get so worried, so stressed, so angry, so hate-filled, so sad, so grieving, etc., that we don't know where the thoughts end and we begin.  That's when our minds race, we neglect everyday activities, and start to lose interest in things that should be fun.

So how to regain control over stressful, worrisome, scary thoughts?

(1)  Pretend it's someone else complaining to you about their problems.  If it were someone else, you'd feel comfortable telling them how they should fix their issues.  Then remember that you are the someone else, and solve the problems as you suggested.

(2)  If there's nothing you can do that minute to fix the problem, think about something else.  I mean give yourself a "Hey look, that was J-Lo" kind of moment.  Doesn't have to be J-Lo, of course (there are other behinds in this world, after all), but if it gets you to "snap out of it," even for a little while, then do it.  Your psyche will thank you for it later!

(3)  Planning is better than worrying.  Even if the problem is tangible, real, and causing an impact, worrying about it will keep it there, and possibly make it worse.  So if it's bugging you at 3am, GET out of bed, TURN ON the computer, and WRITE SOMETHING DOWN!  Not only will you be taking positive steps towards solving the problem, you'll also be GETTING IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD and STOPPING THE SELF-TORTURE!!!!!!!

(4)  Meditate.  Chill.  Center yourself.  Find your chi.  Seek still waters.  Talk to G-D.  To Jesus.  To Vishnu.  To Buddha.  Stop thinking and just be.  Whatever you want to call it, just change your gear into neutral for a shot time each day and RELAX.

As another blogger, Hans Hallanger, recently posted, we control our own thoughts, and we should drive out self-critical and self-punishing thoughts and replace them with positive reinforcements.  As another friend recently posted on Facebook, the thoughts you feed continue to thrive, and the ones you don't feed disappear.

So to answer the question, YOU control YOUR thoughts.

Don't forget to comment!