Learning poetry

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Be Aware of the Snowball Effect of Your Thinking

A powerful technique for becoming more peaceful is to be aware of how
quickly your negative and insecure thinking can spiral out of control.
Have you ever noticed how uptight you feel when you're caught up in your
thinking? And, to top it off, the more absorbed you get in the details
of whatever is upsetting you, the worse you feet. One thought leads to
another, and yet another, until at some point, you become incredibly
For example, you might wake up in the middle of the night and remember a
phone call that needs to be made the following day. Then, rather than
feeling relieved that you remembered such an important call, you start
thinking about everything else you have to do tomorrow. You start
rehearsing a probable conversation with your boss, getting yourself even
more upset. Pretty soon you think to yourself, "I can't believe how busy
I am. I must make fifty phone calls a day. Whose life is this anyway?"
and on and on it goes until you're feeling sorry for yourself. For many
people, there's no limit to how long this type of "thought attack" can
go on. In fact, I've been told by clients that many of their days and
nights are spent in this type of mental rehearsal. Needless to say,
it's impossible to feel peaceful with your head full of concerns and
The solution is to notice what's happening in your head before your
thoughts have a chance to build any momentum. The sooner you catch
yourself in the act of building your mental snowball, the easier it is
to stop. In our example here, you might notice your snowball thinking
right when you start running through the list of what you have to do the
next day. Then, instead of obsessing on your upcoming day, you say to
yourself, "Whew, there I go again," and consciously nip it in the bud.
You stop your train of thought before it has a chance to get going. You
can then focus, not on how overwhelmed you are, but on how grateful you
are for remembering the phone call that needed to be made. If it's the
middle of the night, write it down on a piece of paper and go back to
sleep. You might even consider keeping a pen and paper by the bed for
such moments.
You may indeed be a very busy person. but remember that filling your
head with thoughts of how overwhelmed you are only exacerbates the
problem by making you feel even more stressed than you already do. Try
this simple little exercise the next time you begin to obsess on your
schedule. You'll be amazed at how effective it can be.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff by Richard Carlson, PhD.

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