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How to Stop Negative Thinking (Life in a Vortex 2)

by | 30 Jun 2014 | Change

My last post was about the impact it has when I’m sucked into a ‘vortex’ of unhelpful  thought and feelings in response to some event; and how the first step in shifting to a more helpful and resourceful state is in noticing, that I’m in the vortex in the first place!

Today though I wanted to share one of the techniques I find most effective beyond this first step – otherwise I run the risk of getting even deeper in the vortex (I’m even more infuriated because now I know I’m in it and I can’t get out).

The vortex I’m in affects the way I think, how I experience emotion and the way I feel physically – mind, body and emotion. And the techniques I play with to get me back to being in a more resourceful balance state will start with one of those 3 areas.

For example, I may start by examining the way I’m thinking and noticing where it’s overly dramatic or where I’m making things up I don’t know to be true.

Or I may look at my emotions to see why this is so important and what lies beneath (what’s in my heart).

However, if I’ve got myself into a vortex where my mind is whirring anxiously, worrying and churning the same thoughts over and over, then I find the best place for me to start is to counteract my hyperactive brain and analysis paralysis by doing something physical. Going for a walk, attacking the garden, getting a good nights sleep and taking big deep breaths have all worked for me in shifting back to a more resourceful state.

I find the most universally useful and powerful technique is to adjust my posture – to hold myself how I do when I am feeling my most confident, happy and powerful. So, whether I am standing or sitting, I make sure my feet are planted firmly on the ground, my shoulders are relaxed and back with an open chest, my back straight, my head held high as if it were supported my an invisible thread from above.

And I breathe deeply and slowly into my stomach, not high in my chest. This never fails to make me feel better, calmer and more in control. By focusing on my breathing I break the cycle with my whirring mind.

And I can do this anywhere, anytime.

I was very interested recently to watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on the subject which gives a little of the science behind why this works – I recommend it, and as ever I find it reinforcing to know a little of why a technique I employ works so well.

In future blogs I’ll give more on how we can shift our state by looking at the way we are thinking, but in the meantime, let me know what other techniques you use to calm your ‘worry head’?

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