Are you experiencing increased anxiety, worry and sense of helplessness? Your brain is a pattern recognizing machine! Ever buy a new car and then everywhere you go you see the SAME car? The same thing happens with our thinking…the brain wants to find a pattern and will look for things to support that pattern and pretty soon that’s all we see. So, if you think negative thoughts, your brain will automatically find more negative to support the pattern and pretty soon you will be stuck in a loop of worry, ruminating thoughts and anxiety. There is hope! You are in control! We can un-stuck ourselves from the loop of negative thinking by replacing it with something different!
When you’re feeling negative you’re going to count backwards out loud (this interrupts the brain’s pattern for a moment) 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then, as quickly as you can, you are going to list 5 things you can touch or see (this will immediately ground you in the present moment because worry exists in the past and anxiety lives in the future) list 4 things you are thankful for (this is a gratitude practice—our minds cannot focus on positive and negative things at the same time), list 3 people you are going to reach out to or that you love (as humans we are hard-wired to connect—studies have indicated there are mental and physical benefits to service to others; like reducing depression and lowering blood pressure), list 2 things you’re going to learn about in the next day or two (this reinforces you have the control and creates a distractions from negative thoughts), and number ONE you will say out loud “Right now, I am okay” (when we think a thought over and over again it becomes a belief—you will eventually believe the thought “right now, I am okay” if you think it enough. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather believe something that feels good rather than something that feels bad.)