Do you need help changing your thoughts and freeing yourself from unhelpful thought patterns?
Julie Potiker, author of “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.”
6 Tips to Break Free from Negative Thought Patterns (Mindfulness Tips)
Whether you suffer from anxiety, mild depression, or you just woke up in a funk and want to break the loop of discursive thought and stop it from ruining your whole day, these tips can help.
- Become an observer: Slow down and notice what is arising. Observe your thoughts instead of being hijacked by them. Thoughts, feelings, and emotions arise and pass, if you don’t spin out on a story about them.
- Try a meditation: Meditation slows you down and calms you down. Try my free guided meditations here on the Insight Timer App.
- Offer yourself a gentle touch: Placing our hands where we find them most soothing releases oxytocin and opiates, helping us to regulate the cortisol and adrenaline stress hormones that flood us when we are upset.
- Do something that brings you joy: Now would be a great time to make a “what gives you joy” list. Life is full of emotional chaos, but bringing it back to focused activities that give joy to your soul can mean the difference between making or breaking it day to day, year to year.
- Get grounded: Drop your attention to the soles of your feet; notice if they are warm or cold, moist or dry. Pay attention to your feet for a couple of breath cycles. Then move your attention to your breath, if breathing feels comfortable to you. Feel and see your body breathing in for four counts and out for six. When your exhale is longer than your inhale, your heart rate and blood pressure will go down, and you will feel calmer.
- Change the channel: Invite yourself to change your channel of thought. Focus on something you are grateful for, perhaps going so far as to write a letter of gratitude to someone. (You don’t need to send it to get the mental health benefits.) Or pull up a wonderful memory, marinating in the warm and wonderful feelings to install the goodness in your body and mind: that pushes the mental state into a neural trait so the happy bridge gets reinforced in your brain.