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

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.

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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

7

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. 

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.

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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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:

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  • The inability to be emotionally open to the pain of others when you do feel it.

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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.

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One step at a time

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Go for a walk

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Use the lull by doing something active to simplify your focus. A calm walk can help you gather your thoughts and build momentum to start writing.

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A new environment can quite literally lead to new ideas.

Task association

It's when your brain knows that when you’re in a certain place, you’re taking a certain action.

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