Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thought Stopping

At times you may be disturbed by very sad, disturbing or fearful thoughts. Whatever you do, these thoughts may keep coming back to you again and again. They may even disturb your routine and your daily schedule. The more you try to push them away, the greater vengeance they come back with.

Change your approach. Start off the following routine and see how it works:

  1. Sit down quietly, undisturbed, and actually INVITE those thoughts to come in. Tell yourself that you will not push them away, you will in fact welcome them. If any other positive thoughts come to you at that time, ignore them and focus only on these painful or negative thoughts.
  2. Start systematically and run the incidents or the memories in chronological order, like you are watching a re-run of a video. Slow down and go through each minute detail. Visualize your role in those incidents, how you felt at that time.
  3. Experience each of the feelings you are going through as you re-live those painful memories. Try to label which feelings are strongest NOW, and connect each incident to a feeling.
  4. Accept the sad or painful feelings as they come. Acknowledge that those feelings are real, and they are because of what happened in those incidents.
  5. Run through as much of the incident(s) as possible, for a minimum period of five or ten minutes, even more if the flow of thoughts is smooth.
  6. Then at one point, tell yourself “STOP”! You will not allow those feelings to come in now. Keep some rigorous activity ready, and get down to it as soon as this session is over.
  7. Then fix a time, maybe three or six hours later, when you will go through a similar session of thinking about the incident. When thoughts come in between, push them away. Tell those thoughts to come back at the pre-fixed time. As many times as the thoughts come, just keep pushing them away and repeating that you will allow them in at the particular time.
  8. At the fixed time, stop whatever you are doing, and again go through ten or twenty minutes of intensively and with focus, thinking about the painful memories. Then stop and get back to work.
  9. Continue this cycle by increasing the time period between two “thinking” sessions. Steadily keep increasing this time period, and slowly reduce the time allotted for thinking.
  10. Depending on the intensity of the pain and hurt, the process will slowly start bringing relief, and you will at some stage, not need it at all. The thoughts will continue to come, but they will be bearable and fleeting. At that point, accept them and move on with day to day life.

Though there is no assurance that this method WILL definitely work, it has given relief to many people who I have worked with. Do it sincerely, and best of luck.

A modification of the above is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones with regard to the same topic (or nearest to it). For example:

If you are having a bad time at office and feeling bad to go there, after thinking of all the negative things, think of some good days you have had at the office, or some good aspect e.g. canteen tea is very nice, or one friend who you like to meet in office.

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