Friday, February 26, 2010

We Use Them A Lot

Here’s a partial list of what we do with them:

Wonder.....Wish......... .Plan
Scheme.....Hope....... ...Concentrate

Our Thoughts form our:


When we have an idea – that Idea is a Thought
When we have an opinion – that Opinion is a Thought
When we worry – the Worry is composed of Thoughts
When we judge someone or something right or wrong, or good or bad – that Judgement is a Thought
When we talk – we are speaking/expressing/vocalizing the Thoughts we are thinking

Even before we move our muscles, we think thoughts that activate commands to them.
Let’s take a simple example:
You want a glass of water, and decide to pour one for yourself.
The ‘want’ is a thought.
The ‘decide’ is a thought.
Those thoughts trigger commands to the muscles to carry out the act(s) to produce the end desire: A glass filled with water.

Thoughts, we do use them a lot.
The truth is–we wouldn’t do much of anything without our Thoughts.
They truly are the Central Components of Life.

Now, that’s something to think about!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On the Same Page

“You can't always control which thoughts come… but you can decide which ones you allow to stay around.”

Now, you might guess that statement was spoken by someone in the mental health field. I would have at one time. After all, our own Dr. Low said something very similar. As I was taught: We are not responsible for the thoughts that come in, but we CAN accept, reject or change them. In my opinion, Low’s version is a bit more definite, more clear cut.

I know, I’ve written on this topic before (12-08-09 blog entry) – and I DO believe it’s important enough to mention again. We are NOT responsible for the thoughts that ‘come to mind’.

What does the statement do for you? For me – when I accepted it fully – it meant RELIEF! Relief, as in: It’s not my fault – I’m not wrong, I’m average for having anxiety thoughts, or depressive thoughts, or “unusual” thoughts. (‘unusual’ is the most neutral/moderate adjective I can think of at the moment.)

You are not wrong for the thoughts that come, so you can stop blaming yourself, and place the effort into changing them.

Actually, the quote at the beginning of this article came from Joel Osteen, the minister of the mega-church in Houston, TX.
And it’s really not that surprising the words are coming from someone outside the mental health field.

Lots and lots and lots of self-improvement, personal development, self-awareness, enlightenment, higher achievement, and spiritual programs teach about being mindful of what we’re thinking.

Our Thoughts – they’re important.
We DO need to pay attention to them!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, February 22, 2010

Park It!

Park it? Yes, park your tongue!

I learned of this stop-those-thoughts method a couple of months ago. The article I read had to do with quieting the mind for meditation – stopping the mind-chatter, which in our language would be: stopping the racing thoughts.

The technique is to stabilize your tongue by resting it lightly on the roof of your mouth. ‘Park’ it there (my terminology). It’s a Zen technique believed to cut down on subvocalization – which is when your tongue moves slightly with the thoughts that pass through your mind.

Well, I’ve tried it and it DOES work. Also passed it along to a few people who I knew were having difficulty with racing thoughts. They reported back that it has worked for them too. One person mentioned it was especially helpful when going to sleep at night.

Try it – it’s a form of muscle control. And, if after a time you do notice the thoughts floating back through, do re-check to see/feel what position you tongue is in (this comes from personal experience). Simply re-park your tongue to the top of your mouth, and enjoy the moments of relaxation and/or relief which stopping those thoughts can produce.

Give it a chance. Don’t blame yourself if you have to ‘park it’ time after time. Like any strategy, it takes practice.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, February 13, 2010

THE Voice

More than one cognitive modality for anxiety & panic suggests the technique of giving racing thoughts a name – “The Voice”.

The idea is to One: help you recognize the thoughts that you’re having; Two: to assist in reducing the fear.
If you use this technique, and it does indeed help reduce or stop insecure thoughts – that’s wonderful. Do continue using that method.

If you’ve been calling the thoughts – “The Voice” and it’s not been helpful, or it’s lost it’s positive effect, maybe it’s time to let go of “The Voice” – time to let go of calling it "The Voice".

It very well could be that labeling thoughts as “The Voice” you’ve inadvertently given it some power, some authority – when in fact the thoughts are harmless. Thoughts are distressing, not dangerous – unless we attach danger to them. It’s our interpretation, the interpretation of threat and danger that makes them feel scary, and makes us feel scared. And that fear (thought) causes tension, and the tension increases the intensity and duration of symptoms.

A Secure & Realistic interpretation makes thoughts benign – harmless. And we are the ones who, after we have a thought, label and categorize it as either good or bad. It’s just a thought – it has no Power, no Control.

“The Voice” is not another entity – it’s not ‘something’ trying to ‘get you’.
“The Voice” is thoughts. Thoughts. That’s all, just thoughts. Simply thoughts. Insignificant thoughts with NO Power, NO Control.

The thought comes: “I’m going to be nervous and end up miserable when I have that medical test next week.”

Your comeback, your response, to that thought could be: “I don’t know how I’ll feel. And I don’t have to believe what the thought is telling me.
Realistically, the test is not going to be a picnic. There’s going to be some discomfort – and whatever that discomfort is – I can handle it.
My basic functions will carry me through."

The Power and Control are resident within us. We get to choose to use our power to accept, reject or change our thoughts – and that’s often one thought at a time.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Fatigue

I noticed that term in a headline a few days ago.

As soon as I read the words Snow Fatigue I thought Snow Temper.
Temper at the snow. Temper at so much snow. Temper at being inconvenienced by the snow. Temper at whoever for not clearing the snow off the roads. Temper at ‘having’ to go to work in the snow or else using up personal time. Temper at ‘the store’ for not having any de-icer/salt to put on the sidewalks or driveway. Temper at having to shovel the driveway, the sidewalk or move the mound of snow that the snow plow created around your car parked in the street. Temper at the schools being closed. Temper at the people and businesses who didn’t shovel their sidewalks. Temper at having to stay inside.

The other day I had an email from a friend who lives in one of the places where it snowed a LOT in the past week. Here’s part of it:
“How are things? Here, they are cold and snowy, but I can change my thoughts about it and that is AWESOME!!
You should hear all the moans and groans from everyone at work, kind of funny really.”

Now this is a person who takes his mental health seriously. I know him well enough to confirm that fact. Has he had his share of hassles? You bet he has. Yes, the weather-related irritations and frustrations came. Plenty of annoying ‘things’ happened, including being without power for two days and having to find a place for his family to stay. And ALL those ‘things’ he encountered were “trivialities compared to his mental health”. He knows that, and that’s the way he handled them.

Did he feel stressed at times? I’m sure he did. Did he get “stressed out”? Nope – he practiced his mental fitness tools – consistently and persistently. He had “average original responses” and chose to work them down, instead of working them up.

The remark about his co-workers? My friend observed what was going on – with no judgement. Because like many of us – ‘before' he would have also gotten into all ‘drama’ of what was going on in the Outer Environment.

He kept things in perspective with realistic/secure thoughts.

He stayed away from ‘talking it up and working it up’.
The outcome? He was (and is): At Ease & In Control.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved