Spark Inspiration

Thinking Chains

Do you ever notice how quickly your thoughts can get out of control? It is like a messy room. You put one bit of unopened mail on a table. After a few days, it’s a pile of unopened mail. Then, other things that need to be put away are placed next to the unopened mail so that you can remember to put them all away.  Suddenly (or at least it seems that way), the entire table is covered.

It’s interesting to observe the way thoughts attract each other in the same way. One thought leads into another related thought into another thought into…well, you get the idea. This chain of thoughts can be wonderful when you are thinking about happy thoughts and experiences. However, this chain can quickly deteriorate into an internal environment of chaos when the thoughts you are focused upon are negative. The effect of negative thinking can spread like wildfire. Your thinking affects your emotions and perspective, which in turn affects your behaviors and interactions. Negative thinking attracts negative experience.

So how do you make it stop? For most people, the approach is to “clean house” so to speak. Try to come to a resolution about whatever problem or issue the negative thinking is about. Decide to file it somewhere, throw it away, or put it to good use. The trouble with this approach is it encourages more thinking about something that you experience as negative, which can lead to more chaos.

Here are some ideas to put negative thinking in its place:

1)   Refocus yourself – Turn your attention to something else…something that feels good. Engage in physical activity. Talk with a friend. Spend time with a pet. Play with your kids. You can address whatever the issue is at a later time when your perspective is better.

2)   Put it down on paper – Writing is a useful way to process your thoughts, even if it’s just a to do list. Seeing it written down can help you to see it differently.

3)   Get it done – Instead of thinking about what you need to do…just do it. Once it’s done and off your mind, you can get back to what you whatever you were trying to do when you were thinking about it, like trying to sleep.

4)   Seek professional support – Counseling offers an open forum to process whatever you have going on. Working with a professional can help you build new skills, process any barriers and move towards your goals.

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