2 simple strategies to help nurture a happier mind

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On Monday I attended my third therapy session.

I was looking forward to it, I knew we would be discussing strategies to help me if I felt like it was a ‘struggle day‘.

We talked about how my week had been. I had actually had a really good week until Friday, it was the best I had felt recently and I was excited about the fact I felt positive.


Come Friday; I went out after work and drank a fair amount of wine – let’s not forget I have barely drunk in the last 3 months, so I should have been taking it easier …

Nothing happened (I was safely home in bed by 11pm) but I woke up with the fear (we all know what that feels like).


Worrying about things that aren’t worth worrying about has been a recent (not long term) problem I appear to have got really good at.

It’s one of the things I want to iron out in these sessions – so I was looking forward to some guidance to get my shit together.


We did a DIFFUSION exercise:

  • My therapist asked me to close my eyes / focus on one spot on the floor (I closed my eyes).
  • She then asked me to imagine a stream or river. I immediately was transported back to a stream I used to ride my ponies through when I was younger, back home in Wales.
  • … I was at ease in my head and could clearly remember exactly what I was looking at in my mind.
  • She then said; with every thought, no matter how bad, good, happy, sad or bizarre that came into my head, I had to pick it up from my mindput it on a leaf and let it go, letting it float away – down the stream.
  • My mind became instantly full of random thoughts. I darted between my work, to my family, to re-living riding my ponies through the stream that was in my head. My thoughts were super vivid and flooded my mind quickly.
  • She kept quietly reminding me to ”pick up my thoughts, put them on a leaf and let them go”.
  • We did this exercise for around 5 minutes.
  • Among my thoughts: I couldn’t get any on a leaf, the stream kept running at a calm pace but my thoughts tended to stop above the stream and kinda hang there, hovering like speech bubbles in a cartoon.
  • I didn’t feel stressed or weird, it just felt like my thoughts were ok where they were – just hanging out above the stream from my past.
  • I felt like this must be what meditating felt like, it was quite a calming and I found the whole process interesting as I wasn’t sure why we were doing it.
  • I didn’t think about how I was thinking though, I followed her voice and continued to keep trying (and failing) to put my thoughts on a leaf until she said to take a deep breathe, stretch out and stop.

We talked about how it worked for me and she said it was interesting as everyone always did this in a different way;

People would often hold onto their thoughts, and wouldn’t let them near the stream (indicating they were holding back).

This was a light bulb moment for me – we really don’t need to grip on to negative thoughts do we?!.

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Do like Frozen does: ”Let it gooooooo!”


I found this exercise really enlightening, as it let my mind do it what it wanted for a few minutes, I didn’t try to have a hold over myself.

I just naturally didn’t send my thoughts away on a pesky leaf!.

This is something that you can try yourself, at any time or during any situation. It’s a way of looking at a thought as just that; it’s just a thought that you can let go of at any time.

Imagine if you could put all your worries on a leaf and send it down stream, to never bother you again … sounds pretty good right?.

Try it next time you’re in a pickle or your mind feels full of silly things you’d rather not be thinking about it – I hope it helps you.


Another ‘DIFFUSER’ was accepting your thoughts as ‘something you’ve heard before’.

Like if you’ve spent a morning worrying about lack of money – or the fact that you aren’t as fit as you’d like to be right now – a way to deal with it is to gently ”send the thought elsewhere” by thinking things like:

  • ‘I’ve heard that story before .. let’s focus on something new’
  • ‘You’re boring me now – let’s get on with the day’
  • ‘We haven’t got time for that one again, let’s go and do this …’

To diffuse your own thoughts you have to be open to trying it and willing to see if it helps you.

You’re basically taking yourself away from your mind and telling yourself what to do – which yes sounds odd, but if you can master your thoughts you are in a great position – because ain’t nobody for Negative Nancy thoughts really hey?!.

Again, it’s worth trying if you think it can help you. 


 

Thank you for reading.

@LaraLain

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