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We all have thoughts going on in our heads all the time, stories, reimagining of the past, beliefs and ideas. Many of these thoughts are not in our direct control and can show up in our consciousness in an intrusive manner, without any effort or intention from our side.
These unwanted intrusive thoughts, which are without our consent, can be beneficial, mundane, disposable, or even disturbing and scary.
Many studies show that thought suppression leads to the mind paying extra and frequent attention to the particular thought that is being suppressed, causing it to ‘rebound’ and become the dominant thought.
Example: Telling the brain to not think of a pink elephant conjures up the image of a pink elephant automatically for most people.
Many psychotherapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) only touch the surface of the problem, not the origin of the disturbing thought.
Though simply having those unwanted intrusive thoughts does not automatically mean that those will be acted upon, as most people are simply terrified of having such thoughts.
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There are three reactions that the body produces when in the grip of a panic attack:
The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) region of the brain is activated during a panic attack, and two opposing components get to work as needed:
Mindfulness is the act of being aware of our present experience in real-time.
Normally people start processing inside their minds what they experience, creating perceptions. At its core, mi...
Mindfulness can be practised to:
Mindfulness opens up a space inside our minds that helps us respond to outside situations with ease, instead of just reacting impulsively.
We become aware and are able to detect our default setting, which is our ‘driven-doing mind’, and catch hold of it before any impulsive reaction is acted upon. It also helps us arrest our cycle of negative thoughts.
Psychological skepticism means being neutral toward the contents of your mind.
Most of us are overly trusting of our own minds. But information is not always the truth. Jus...
Emotions, thoughts, and memories may give us useful information, but they are also likely to be unhelpful, inaccurate, or misleading.
For example, when you hear a rattling noise while out hiking, your fear may make you proceed more cautiously. However, fear of your coworkers who think you're dumb keeps you from participating in important meetings.
The information your mind sends you in the form of emotions, thoughts, memories, desires, etc., relates to simply guesses, which means it's unwise to put blind faith in it.
Remind yourself that just because you have a thought doesn't make it true. Just because you feel an emotion doesn't make it significant.
When we deal with our thoughts, emotions, and painful memories, we should consider embracing psychological skepticism - the middle road between ignoring the content of your mind or taking it as gospel.