What do you do if you have a splinter in your foot?
and how to change your relationship with your thoughts
Howdy fellow readers and personal development enthusiasts!
How many times have you had a splinter in your foot? Probably a bunch. And you know as well as I do that they are really painful and annoying.
Well, you take it out immediately, right? Same if you have a broken faucet in your kitchen - you don’t wait around. You just fix it.
And we all do basically the same with the negatives in our life. It bothers you - then you fix it, or take it out.
This sounds like a great plan with external negatives (almost all). The tricky part is that we try to do the same with our inner negatives - the negative emotions and thoughts. And that is when things generally go south.
You feel anxiety - then you worry that you have anxiety - which leads to more anxiety. Then you are angry that you cannot get rid of anxiety. And then you get depressed that the anxiety is still with you no matter what you do. See my point?
So today’s substack is about handling your
inner splinters negative emotions & thoughts. Let’s go:
I. 5 Ways to Make Negative Emotions Work For You
This is a really cool article about what to do with all that negative emotions. You cannot outrun them, controlling is a bad idea, so what do you do?
We get so good at numbing our negative emotions that we lose the motivation to remove the underlying problem. Besides, our brains are very good at habituating, or gradually coming to ignore familiar stimuli, even if they are aversive. With a slow slip into a rut, there is no sudden stab of pain, so this unhealthy, unfulfilled state begins to feel normal.
I particularly like:
no. 2 - Schedule a date with your negatives
no. 4 - Find the flip side - I would rename it - Find the meaning. Because emotion is information.
Stress is triggered by the perception that we don't have the resources (e.g., time, money, ability) to achieve our goal. To understand your stress, ask yourself, "What is important for me to achieve and why?" or "What will make me feel more capable of achieving it?"
II. How to look at your negative thoughts differently
This cool piece really surprised me. Apart from an easy-going writing style, the gist of it is summarized in just a few lines. Neat, right?
The main idea:
don’t try to change your thoughts, change your relationship with them.
How? Well, there are some quirky and out-of-the-box ways to try.
Walk around the room saying, “I cannot walk around the room.” Or vary the specifics to get the same effect. Clearly demonstrate to yourself that your thoughts are not reality. Change that relationship.
Go ahead, say it: “Stupid, stupid, stupid…”
One catch: don’t do it three times; you have to say it 50 times. Say that word until it is utterly meaningless to you. Say a word 50 times and it just loses any sort of sense and you realize it is nothing more than sounds.
III. About you
There is no easy way to say this: you need your feeling, emotions & negative thoughts.
You need your inner splinters because that is where information about what is important to you resides.
So be kind!
Thanks for reading Acertivo - make mental health simple again! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.