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

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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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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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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Adapting to context

Different types of information demand different styles of note-taking. There are lots of reasons to take notes: to retain information, to capture ideas, to problem solve or brainstorm, to visualiz...

The Outline/List

Is a linear method of taking notes that proceeds down the page, using indentation or bullets to denote major and minor points.

Pros: it records content relationship in a way tha...

The Sentence Method

The goal is to jot down your thoughts as quickly as possible. Format is kept to a minimum: every new thought is written on a new line. 

Pros: Is like free writing for notes.

Cons: lack organization and notes can be hard to understand.

Works for: meetings or lectures that lack organization; when information is presented very quickly.

SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review)
  • Skim the material for bolded text, images, summaries, to produce a list of headlines;
  • Each headline is then written in the form of a question;
  • Record your “answers” to the reading questions under each corresponding header;
  • Once you’ve finished reading the text, write a summary of the material from memory—this is the “recite” part of the process. 
  • Finally, review your notes to make sure you’ve completely grasped the concepts.

Works for: dense written material.

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