Wish just wish we could stop the thinking that makes us suffer, and think the thoughts we want to.
Have you ever been told this advice?
“Don’t worry about it” or “stop worrying so much.”
“Just get out of your head! Quit thinking so much about it.”
I’m sorry, but it’s garbage advice and won’t help you (if you haven’t noticed that it didn’t work already.)
It’s not their fault, it’s just that these people either don’t have an issue in that area of their life, or somehow don’t worry or think like you do.
So we can’t expect them to understand or know how to deal with it.
So here’s the REAL deal…you can’t stop thinking. There are many uses to thinking actually, so we don’t want to stop it.
Actually, thinking is NOT the root of the problem.
The root of the problem is not your thoughts themselves, but getting “hooked” by or “buying into” your thoughts.
Once we realize this, it is MUCH easier to stop the insanity.
What is Thought Fusion?
Fusion is when you become attached to your thoughts or beliefs as if they are the truth. You effectively are “fused” with them believing that you are your beliefs.
Now there may be some truth to them, or there may not be, but that’s not the point.
When you “fuse” with your thoughts, the way you perceive the world, and the possibilities for who you’d like to be and effective action are limited to that thought.
The good news is that you can “defuse” from them. It just takes practice.
Here’s a personal example from my life as a singer/songwriter:
BELIEF: “I just can’t do it, I’ll never be a good singer!”
BEHAVIOR: Holding back while singing, trying to hit the notes “perfectly”.
Fear of making a mistake so performance is lack luster. Or trying too hard so the singing is forced and unnatural, rigid.
THOUGHTS: “Do they think I’m a good singer? Why doesn’t everyone tell me I’m great?”
Basically, obsession and waiting for positive feedback from other people.
Worrying while singing if people are liking it. Worrying about past notes that were missed, so lack of presence.
I struggled with this for years even up until recently.
Once I learned to let go my thoughts, and be more self-expressive no matter how I or I thought other people judged my singing, my singing got much, much better.
And people started to compliment me more and more. And you know what, I cared less more and more about the compliments, too.
The aim is to learn how to let go of ALL of our thoughts whether positive or negative.
And yes we can, let our positive thoughts guide us, but still we don’t want to attach to them. And certainly our negative thoughts we want to let go of, for the most past.
The idea is to be non-judgmental in letting out thoughts go. Because if we hold onto only our positive thoughts, there will be a “lash-back” at some point, with our mind arguing with us and fighting against them.
Also we no longer become flexible in our thinking, we become rigid and dogmatic.
Meditation, increasing inner awareness, body awareness, out awareness are all things we can do to cultivate mindfulness to learn how to defuse from our thoughts.
Here are several ways that I recommend, and in fact, that I practice regularly.
My life is completely different now that I regularly practice them.
1) Thanking your mind: whenever your mind is berating you, others or generally saying anything negative you can make a statement like “Thanks mind for trying to protect me and keep me safe.”
Our minds are very survival-based, and almost anything it thinks is trying to keep you safe. Conversely, if your mind compliments you, tells you that you’re amazing, thank it as well for that.
But then move on from it. It’s nice when it does this, but it’s not guaranteed, and trying to force it to say positive things, will inevitably backfire. Enjoy it, and let it go.
2) Mindful Breathing: The tried and true practice of diagrammatic breathing is always a great thing to learn. It’s important to do it while focusing on remaining present, letting your thoughts go.
Try doing it naturally and more slowly. If you are having difficulty, try inhaling to a count of 6, and exhaling to a count of 6.
3) Centering: Many martial arts practices deal with centering, but you don’t have to do martial arts to learn centering.
Your physical center is generally below your navel and just above your pubic bone. Doing breathing exercises into and from your center is a very powerful practice.
Also learning to ground from your center is very powerful.
But some form of dedicated meditation practice each day (even if only for 5 minutes, twice a day) will help to cultivate our mindfulness.
5) Getting into Your Body: Certainly exercise is a great way to get into your body.
However, I have found something with a mindfulness component built-in like yoga or martial arts (I am partial to Tai Chi) for cultivating body awareness and living from your whole being, not just in your head.
ALL of these ways will help to develop a more mindful way of living, which is the key to getting of your heading, and to stop thinking so much!