opposite action: a weapon

This is the fifth post in an ongoing blog series, featuring some practical tools and activities. Fill up your arsenal and collect your weapons for recovery.

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You’re not going to like this one.

You’re going to think that I’m over-simplifying. And you’re right, I am. This tool is simple in concept, but difficult to master. When we have backed ourselves into an emotional corner, and self-criticisms are swarming, and we are overwhelmed, and we cannot stop the incessant thoughts even at night – Stop.

I don’t mean like Nike’s just do it. I mean, literally, stop. Breathe three times, as slowly and deeply as possible. Don’t avoid your thoughts, listen to them, watch them flow in as though they are on a conveyor belt and then watch them leave just the same. Remember that thoughts are thoughts, they are not happening, and you are in complete control of yourself. Do not let your thoughts victimize you.

Now, think of the opposite thought. If you are thinking negatively, think positively. If you are denying yourself something you don’t think you deserve, do it. If you are tempted to fall into old behaviours, make up a new, positive one to replace it.

This technique may seem easy-to-say-hard-to-do, but it is amazing how much can be geniously overcome through this type of practise. Our brains are super powerful machines, and we can learn to manage our thoughts and eliminate fear from our lives.

two_wolves

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2 thoughts on “opposite action: a weapon

  1. What I find is that this is a good place to start, but if the ED demons have set up shop, pulling out if that whirlpool by will alone can sometimes be impossible.

    Only two things have ever helped:

    1.) Writing through it (I have a few dear friends and prayer partners who act as confessors and are willing to receive — and read — impossibly long rants and/or tear-soaked letters/e-mails). Even journaling in letter form to a specific individual (past/present friend or relative, historical figure — I wrote letters to Emily Dickinson for a few years — can be useful). It’s “permission” to have the emotional response to the whatever situation without falling into the negative self-destructive coping mechanism of relying on the ED to drown the emotional response. Does that make sense? Mind you, what you write does NOT have to make sense, but it is good to have a “safe” place to channel it all (in the form of a real person in real life is best) to help get you through whatever triggering situation.

    2.) As I am a Christian, the second thing that helps (often in combination with writing) is pulling out all the memory verses that affirm God’s love, God’s faithfulness, God’s promises to us, our belovedness, who I am in-Christ. Verse alone are a bit dry, but I have a very carefully crafted Pandora station full of songs of God’s promises and hope in hopeless situations. Even if I don’t feel loved or hopeful, eventually just being quiet with those songs and verses starts to steer my mind in better and less destructive directions.

    These two things can make your suggestion possible…a suggestion that does work very well indeed.

    Blessings to you — fight on and write on my friend.

  2. “Remember that thoughts are thoughts, they are not happening, and you are in complete control of yourself. Do not let your thoughts victimize you.” – I love that. So applicable to any emotional prison you might find yourself trapped in.

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