Life is for having fun and sometimes we do that by choosing to scare ourselves on theme park rides, horror movies, ghost stories, haunted night walks. This is great because we know it’s just make believe don’t we? It’s when we do things in our everyday lives that scare us, frighten us, worry us, make us fearful from time to time that robs of us of our peace of mind and our happiness.
We can brew up trouble for ourselves by the way we think, behave and react and create fear and worry for ourselves in the here in now. Perhaps some of the scenarios below may be familiar to you:
🧛♀️🧛♂️Letting negative people drain your energy, happiness or joy by spending time with them, listening to them, believing them. We follow the news – the doom and gloom. We have friends or family who are naysayers, the moaners who find fault with everything or everyone. Negativity breeds negativity and sucks all the joy out of us.
🕸🕷 Tangling yourself up with worries. We create that web of worry we find ourselves in by worrying about something and then worrying about that worrying image we’ve created. The more we worry the more our mind joins in encouraging us to catastrophise and reminding us of all the things that didn’t go well in the past. It can feel tricky to untangle ourselves and the more we worry the more stuck and entangled we get in the web of self created worry.
🍵🤢 Poisoning your Mind with Negative Thoughts. Every thought we have influences how we feel and what we can or can’t do. Negative thoughts make us feel sad, bad, anxious, angry, frustrated. They rob us of our peace of mind. They create stress for us. They make us want to fight back or run away and hide. They are like quietly sipping poison.
🖤👎 Negatively Forecasting the Future. We think we are playing safe by not being too optimistic or covering all possibilities. Imagining tomorrow will be awful; forecasting future problems and difficulties and creating a future no-one would want. All this does is create worry, frustration and stress for ourselves now simply by using our imagination to imagine the worst case scenario!
💀💀 Killing your Happiness with Negative Thoughts. Negative thoughts activate our fight, flight or freeze mode. Then we feel on edge, irritable, stressed, anxious, uncertain, indecisive and lacking in motivation and energy. We are particularly good at remembering all the things that have ever gone badly for us. We analyse them, criticise ourselves, tell ourselves off. We keep playing that same old bad memory over and over in minds embedding it still further. It’s like constantly throwing ourselves onto a bed of nails.
👻 Fearing the Unknown. Life is full of the unknown. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring, what’s around the next corner. What we do know is we’ve survived everything so far and so probably we will survive what’s coming. Fear is simply False Expectations Appearing Real which means we are imagining the unknown isn’t good and frighten ourselves about what may or may not happen. We can literally paralyse ourselves with fear about what happens next and that’s not a great way to be our best selves is it?
Perhaps some of those habits have resonated with you. Maybe the penny has dropped that perhaps your lack of confidence, your short temper, the stress you experience may in part be caused by how you are thinking. Here’s some things you can do instead…..
- Choose your Company Well. We become the sum total of the 5 people we spend most time with so choose wisely. If choice isn’t an option learn to edit out their negativity, spend the minimum amount of time with them or metaphorically turn the volume down on their words or vibe.
- Stop Weaving the Web of Worry. When you find yourself worrying alter the route your mind is taking by asking yourself “What could go well?” If that doesn’t feel appropriate take your mind away from the web you’re weaving by doing something that you enjoy doing. Worrying keeps us busy so get busy doing something else instead for a few minutes, an hour or the rest of the day.
- Fill Your Mind with Good Thoughts. Get a pen and paper and write down at least 10 things that have been good about your day, your week, that month. Switch the track of your thoughts by sipping the honeyed wine of good cheer. Watch something that makes you laugh on YouTube, TV or Netflix. Talk to someone who you laugh lots with.
- Positively Forecast your Future. Think about what you are looking forward to and if you decide that there isn’t any thing then use that amazing imagination you have to imagine the future you really want. Our mind will enjoy that imagined holiday, new hairstyle, successful presentation, redecorated lounge and then we feel better, happier. It’s your mind so use to imagine good things happening rather than prophesizing doom and gloom.
- De-activate Flight or Fight Mode. This mode is really helpful when we find a tiger in the bathroom or a crocodile in the hot tub. To de-activate this mode we want to be in thriving mode and that means doing things that we love, that we enjoy, that absorb us. For example play music we love, go out for a walk or a run, read a box, do a jigsaw puzzle, bake a cake. If you can’t actually do that thing right now then imagine doing it and imagine when you’ll do it, what you are wearing when you do it, where you are, what you can hear, see, feel and taste and you’ll feel just as good as actually doing it.
- Create a Sense of Enjoyment about the Future. It’s your future so you can colour it using your imagination. Tell yourself you are looking forward to this afternoon, tomorrow morning, that new job, that client etc. Think what you’d like to do in the next 3 months and how you could achieve this. Dream as big as you wish and then work out what steps to take. Create a Vision Board on Pinterest of your Future. Write your Times Obituary. Journal how you want to feel and be by this time next year and what you want to have learnt and accomplished.
We can change. We can emerge from that web of worry. We can create the future that excites us in our minds rather than the one that frightens us. We can spend time with people or things that lift us up rather than bring us down. One of the key tenents of the work I do is to help people to unlock the power of their mind and use the strengths and resources we all have inside of us. As J.K. Rowling wisely said ” We don’t need magic to change the world. We carry all the power inside ourselves already.”