Filtering by Tag: thought stopping

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
— Erich Fromm

For the past few years, I have been fortunate to be part of an academic community that is constantly examining and re-evaluating how as both individuals and a community we can create a welcoming, more inclusive environment. Coming into this community and these conversations, I felt like I was already a pretty open-minded person and that my actions and words provided a welcoming space for others. But, as I continued to go deeper in these conversations, I realized I had a lot to learn!

These conversations weren’t always easy, and to be honest there were times when I felt myself resisting what I was learning. Some of the things challenged the beliefs I grew up with. At times, I felt people were being over sensitive and too “PC.” It was in these moments, when I really stopped, listened to others, and was honest with myself that I realized that I wasn’t always doing all I could to create a more inclusive environment.

I am a white female that grew up in a middle class family. I was always provided a good education; college wasn’t an “if,” but a “where.” I went on a variety of family vacations, played multiple sports, and was exposed to many artistic and cultural endeavors. I grew up in a strong female family so I was always encouraged to speak my mind. I had my own personal struggles and still do, but on a global scale I am privileged and my voice is usually heard. It’s hard for me to even understand that other people don’t have the ability to be seen or heard as they are intended and should be.

I decided that I wanted to educate myself more. I wanted to at least try to understand the struggle and imbalance of power that still very much exists in our world in a variety of ways. Throughout the last few months, I kept coming back to the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” The idea behind this saying is that sometimes it is better to not know everything about a given situation. Something about that statement doesn’t seem comforting in today’s society. Is ignorance really bliss or is it actually irresponsible?

I know that people aren’t always provided communities, whether they are academic, spiritual, or social, that encourage them to dig deep about what they believe, how they represent themselves, and then offered education on expanding their beliefs. However, as we continue to get older, isn’t it our responsibility to be curious and seek information, ask questions, listen, and re-evaluate in order to become an active participant in life?

The more we continue to feed into our limiting beliefs or microaggressions (even if they seem to be small and not harmful), the more we perpetuate an exclusive and imbalanced environment. If we truly come from a place of love over fear in our lives then we become more open to understanding, which leads to accepting things that are different from us.

It first starts with a commitment to analyzing our own thoughts/words and behaviors/actions. When we realize that a limiting belief comes up, there are tools to shift our mindset such as thought stopping and positive replacement. As with any shift, it takes time and practice. There will be moments where it’s not easy and we do fall back into our limiting beliefs, but wouldn’t the uneasiness and struggle be worth it if we all committed to practicing “love over fear” mind, body, and spirit? Just think of how much we would grow and evolve not only as individuals, but also as a community, country, and world. Ignorance isn’t bliss; understanding, supporting, and leading with love is bliss.

Time out...Time in...

Time out…Time in…

Labor Day has come and gone, Starbucks is already serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and school is officially in full swing for everyone. I am reminded of some of my favorite shows growing up, specifically “Saved by the Bell.” Being a teenager on the east coast, I fantasized about going to school right near the beach, having school dances where I could break out “the sprain, ” and hanging out at The Max. But one of the most memorable things about SBTB, was Zach’s “Time Out,” where he could freeze whatever conversation he was in (usually one where he was in trouble), talk out his problem with the audience, and then unfreeze and redirect the conversation in his favor. Little did I know at the time, but Zach Morris was exercising another powerful mental training tool, thought stopping.

Thought stopping is when we acknowledge the undesired, or negative, thought briefly and then choose to stop the thought and let it go. To go even further, you can then replace the thought with a positive statement, also known as positive replacement. For many of us, getting in the habit of just stopping the negative thought and fully letting it go will be challenging enough. Establishing this practice is the first step. In order to enhance your practice by redirecting your mind with positive replacements, try doing this exercise. Write out a list of negative thoughts you may have had or make some up and then next to each statement re-write the statement in a more positive way. For example:

Negative thought-  “I am never going to loose this weight.”     

Positive replacement-  “I work out everyday and feel better each time."

Another helpful exercise is to keep a thought stopping log. In a notebook or on your phone, write down the negative thought, when it happened, what the situation was, and then a positive replacement. After doing this for a week, you can look back at the log and make observations of when your mind started to downward spiral and then figure out why. By adding the positive replacement thoughts, you begin to re-train your mind, helping to keep it on the upward spiral. Remember you are observing yourself, not judging yourself.

Next week, I will go further into enhancing our thought stopping practice with additional techniques.

 

Do you want to change your thoughts and feel more empowered in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

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