Our brain is an amazing tool that makes us who we are. Unfortunately, it cares more about surviving than our happiness and for that reason, it sometimes makes calculations that can make our lives quite difficult. We all have fears, anxieties, thoughts or beliefs that hold us back. Though, in some instances, we can be in control or even terminate these negative thoughts and beliefs. I put together five techniques that I use in my practice to give my clients extra tools they can use in their day-to-day life. Not all of them will work for everyone, as we all are different and have different preferences, but I recommend trying them to see which one feels the best for you.
1. Spin It Around
This technique works very well for anxieties or an unwanted thought or feeling. When you feel the emotion you do not want, close your eyes and ask yourself: “If this feeling was somewhere in my body, where would it be?” “If it was and object, what would it be”? “If it were spinning, what direction it would be spinning?” When you identify the feeling and its movement, ask yourself: “If I were to make this feeling worse, would I make it spin slower or faster?” You might ask, why would I want you to make the feeling worse? Because I want you to understand that you have control over it. Making the feeling worse is easier than making it better, but once you make it worse you realise in what way the speed affects the feeling, so you can now make the opposite happen. Make the feeling or object, whatever the emotion is to you, spin in a different direction, faster, slower, whichever would have it better. And trust me, if you take this exercise seriously, you will notice the difference and hopefully discover a tool for yourself that can help you in many situations in your life.
2. So, What Do You Think?
Do you also have that voice in your head that tells you things that let you down? No, you are not crazy. Most people have it. The voice that tells you “No one likes me”, “I can’t achieve that”, “They will think I’m a failure” or anything negative that brings your self-esteem down. Does it sound familiar? I will teach you a little trick how to weaken the voice. Whenever you hear anything negative that your mind tells you, repeat it again to yourself but put word SO in front of the sentence. “So, what would they think about me?” “So, I’m worthless.” “So, what if he does not like what I’m wearing”. The statements will slowly and gradually lose their importance because you break the pattern of how they are presented to you. You can also change the tempo, the tonality or even imagine someone really funny telling you the negative thought. Make fun out of it. It might seem a bit strange at the beginning, but you know that reasoning with the voice does not work, right? Sometimes it is the seemingly silly things that can change your thought patterns.
3. See the Vision
I come across many clients that tell me they do not know what they want. They do not know how to be happy. This is because they do not have any vision or do not believe it is achievable. If you are one of those people, don’t worry, it can be changed. All you need to do is start building the vision. But start small. Imagine yourself in ten years’ time, the best version of yourself. What are you wearing? Who is around you? Do you own a car? A house? What are your hobbies? Are you healthy? Just start with things that are easy to answer. If you feel like you are trying to find the answer just for the sake of having any, move to another subject. The big vision will come when you figure out the small things that you want. And when you have some answers you are happy with, ask yourself: “ What can I bring from the future to now?” “What can I already change to come closer to becoming that person?” You do not need goals, lists of things to do or tasks. They are boring and tiresome. All you need is a vision. Something you feel passionate about, even if it is the smallest thing.
4. Drop Through It
This technique works on the basis that every negative feeling has an opposite, positive feeling. Every anxiety has its anti-anxiety. It’s like yin and yang. The good thing about this is that these two opposite emotions know about each other. With this technique, we are looking for the opposite of whatever thought or feeling you are experiencing. When you have anxiety, fear or any emotion you would like to be rid of, just identify where in your body you can feel it. When you find it, name it. There might be some image associated with the emotion in your mind, or sound, even a colour. Whatever comes to your mind, we will work with it. Now imagine the emotion or felling is a layer in which you can drop though and into another layer of emotion. Say out loud or in your mind “DROP” and switch into another emotion, feeling or image. Name it, what is it now? Keep on repeating the exercise until you get to the opposite of the feeling you started with. You will find that the old emotion keeps on weakening and, at some point, you will drop through into a nice pleasant feeling.
5. Think Creatively
I find that creativity is a great tool for many to find balance in their lives. We spend most of our time running around without thinking about ourselves. Painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, or any other creative activity can help us discover what is within us. Creating something can give us great feeling of achievement and teaches us how to spend time on our own while we focus on something we enjoy. It is like an inner meditation that creates something that is ours. So, if you haven’t done it yet do take on some creative hobby. Ignore the excuses that you have no time, and just do it for two weeks to see how it goes. Sometimes the most difficult thing is just starting.
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Author: Dita Peskova
Dita Peskova is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and founder of Younique Therapy. She specialises in dealing with anxieties, phobias, fears and low self-esteem.