How To Process Your Thoughts Better
Updated: May 28, 2020
In my previous article, I mentioned that during quarantine, I have had some mental shifts. On that note, today, I want to share a new realisation I have had, which has drastically improved the way I process my thoughts.
What do you do when stuck in a negative spiral and no amount of positive thinking is helping, AT ALL? After much trial and error, I have finally come up with a method that works for me and I would like to call it the Triple A framework.
Before I breakdown the process, let me go back to the realisation I have had. I realised that when I personally am grappling with negative thoughts and emotions, my mind creates such a solid barrier, that pretty much any positive thinking just bounces off it. It just doesn't work.
The thing is, when overwhelmed, our emotional mind is overriding and no amount of logic makes sense. So, before you can do any sort of thinking you have to first change your emotional state. Once you have shifted your emotional state, then you can begin to delve into "processing."
Now, lets get cracking on the Triple A framework:
STEP 1: Accept
When you are feeling overwhelmed, the first step is always always ACCEPTING it. The more you run away from it, the more it will aggravate. So sit down, close your eyes and accept what you are feeling.
Do not feel shame when accepting them, as negative thoughts and the accompanying emotions are part of the human emotional spectrum and we are meant to experience them all, not just the positive ones.
At this point, also reaffirm yourself that you are not your thoughts and emotions. In fact, you are just experiencing them. And that, you are the person who chooses to either act or not act upon them – now that is you!
STEP 2: Allow
This is a VERY important transitionary step. This is where you ALLOW the emotions to float within you while balancing that off by changing your emotional state.
How exactly do we change our emotional state? Recently, I have learnt the deep breathing technique. And let me just tell you this, it is so empowering to know that you can actually control your emotions just by relying on your breath.
I found out that, when we are anxious, we tend to breathe through our mouths, as this is when our sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response), is in action. Every time, I feel anxious, the ones around me would tell me to breathe, and I would frantically do that (through my mouth), only to realise that it ain't working. Well of course, that is because when we are breathing through our mouths, it send signals to the brain that there is danger!
In order to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response), AKA calm ourselves down, you do deep breathing, through your nose. Take a deep breath in through your nose, while expanding your belly, and then exhale it out through your nose, slowly, as your belly deflates.
Do this a few times, while being kind to yourself. You will notice that your body will start to relax and the tense feeling will dissipate.
[Note: You can change your emotional state by doing any activity that you enjoy and that you know will definitely calm you down.]
STEP 3: Address
Now that your emotional mind is off the hook, you are in an a lot calmer state to actually think logically and ADDRESS the trigger more objectively.
Chances are, at this point you are going,
"Oh man, I really did over-magnify that one, didn't I?"
Most of the time, the thought in itself is not the problem, it's what we make out of it, that makes it so big and daunting.
This is where, you can bring in positive thinking and reframe your thoughts – one that is actually in alignment with the truth, and not an over-exaggeration.
That's all for today! I hope you found this method useful, and do try it out! Also, share your thoughts in the comments section down below, and like it if you resonated with it.
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