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5 effective exercises to help you stop believing your unwanted automatic thoughts

Disobey yourself on purpose

The mind's power over you is an illusion. For instance, say one thing while doing the opposite. You will find that it is possible to do the opposite of what you are thinking. (For example, type, I cannot type this sentence, while you are typing the sentence.) Regularly doing this exercise can give you more freedom to do hard things.

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5 effective exercises to help you stop believing your unwanted automatic thoughts

5 effective exercises to help you stop believing your unwanted automatic thoughts

https://ideas.ted.com/5-effective-exercises-to-help-you-stop-believing-your-unwanted-automatic-thoughts/

ideas.ted.com

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Key Ideas

You are not your thoughts

Most of us will do anything not to feel worried or dissatisfied and will try and find ways to soothe ourselves or find ways out of our problems.

However, the key to healing and understanding our potential is to change our relationship to our thoughts and emotions.

Separate thoughts from the act of thinking

We usually buy into what our feelings tell us and allow them to overly direct our actions and choices. 

Instead, notice the act of thinking without getting tangled in your thoughts. See your thoughts as ongoing attempts to make meaning of the world — give them power only to the degree that they help you. 

Give your mind a name

We usually feel that we can choose to agree with someone else, while we don't feel we can choose to disagree with ourselves.

By giving your mind a name, you can feel separated from it because it is now different from you.

Your mind is trying to problem-solve

Consider having a conversation with your mind wherein you appreciate what it is trying to do, but knowing that you don't have to agree.

Sing it

This method is useful when you have a thought that is nagging you.  Sing something like "Happy Birthday". The thought does not have to go away. However, you will see it more clearly as just another thought.

Carry it with you

Write down a recurring thought. Maybe its "I'm stupid" or "I'm unloveable." Then look at it as if it is something that is no longer part of you. 

If you are willing to honor that history, carry the paper with you and acknowledge it as part of your journey.

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Reframe past “failures”

Thinking about our past mistakes usually brings us feelings of despair.

You can stop this by reframing your past failures by recognizing that you did the best you could with the information t...

It’s OK to be uncomfortable

Putting yourself out there is very uncomfortable for most of us.

But try to remember that discomfort is pretty normal. It's just a feeling, nothing more. So allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and accept that the feeling doesn’t mean you should stop trying that new thing your considering.

One step at a time

New projects can feel overwhelming, so imagining how you will get from start to finish it hard.

But you don't have to do it all in a day. Pick one small thing that will take you closer to your goal. And focus on that.

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Prejudice is inside us all
Prejudice is inside us all

Prejudice stems in part from cultural learning, our parents, our schools, and social messages in the media. Prejudice is also deeply embedded in our thought networks.

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Negative stereotypes are lodged in our cognitive network

They pop up to do mischief, even when you're not conscious of it.

We can learn to recognize bias in ourselves and reduce the harmful impact of that part of ourselves by applying acceptance and commitment therapy. It focuses on developing psychological flexibility. When we investigate our implicit biases, we become more aware of them and can bring our actions in line with our conscious beliefs.

Authoritarian distancing

All forms of prejudice can be explained by what’s called authoritarian distancing - the belief that we are different from some group. Because they are different, they represent a threat we need to control.

When people adopt authoritarian distancing, they display three characteristics:

  • The inability to take the perspective of other people.
  • The inability to feel the pain of other people when you take their perspective.
  • The inability to be emotionally open to the pain of others when you do feel it.

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Workplace Drama

When workplace drama affects you, it can become an insidious cloud that permeates your day-to-day.

Be mindful and ask yourself, "What is actually going on here?" Focus on the fa...

Count Your Elephants

Make a list of all of the awkward, uncomfortable realities that haven't been discussed out in the open. 

Set aside time to consciously think through, what's actually bothering you right now and write down these elephants to enable you to resolve these issues.

Identify Your Role In The Problem

Be honest with yourself: Are you contributing to the situation negatively or doing anything to help?

Write down the ways in which you've contributed, and identify how you can personally take responsibility. 

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