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My technique for instant relief: stop thinking.

Discussion in 'Strategies for Success' started by draws, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. draws

    draws Well-Known Member

    The short answer: stop thinking. Stop thinking about anything. Do not try to f'ing "think positive" (oh how that advice makes me stabby)... just Don't Think. Do some stuff. Just sit there. Color. Do mindless work. (Advanced level: play with experiencing things -- the wind, the furniture, the noises around you -- without *thinking* about them. But stop if it makes you think more. :))

    I've come across enough wise teachers who've said, "all suffering is caused by thinking" that I just had to take time to try it out. My brain has always been my everything. Guiding me, entertaining me, figuring everything out for me. (For some reason I've never held it accountable for also trying to kill me...) Well, after decades of study, I've realized that my brain is kinda an as5hole sometimes.

    And right off, about suffering: Terrible things happen to us. Physically, emotionally. We can and do suffer terribly, no matter what our brains do. I'm not suggesting that suffering is erased if we don't think about it. And my heart genuinely goes out to all who suffer. (Which is most people :))

    But there is a point about our thinking that does cause WAY MORE suffering. Even about pain. If I think of my bad feet as just a thing about getting old, I still hurt, but I'm not discouraged. If I think of my bad feet as making life too hard, and how the hell can I go on, then I hurt AND I'm *not* okay.

    I started noticing how distrustful my thinking is in specific ways. Here are 3 examples:

    1) I noticed I could look in the mirror at myself, and literally change what I look like by changing how I think about what I'm seeing. Literally. "I look pretty good" or "Omg hideous flab" changes what I ACTUALLY see in the mirror.
    2) When my neighbors do something really annoying... like riding dirt bikes, or shooting guns, I am outraged and disturbed in exact proportion to how WRONG I think what they're doing is. Neighbors having a party and laughing and music? Fun! Letting their kids ride the ATV in the yard without helmets? Explosive rage!
    3) I finally realized that all those thoughts that I have first thing in the morning, when I wake up all serious and black and intense... those thoughts are total rubbish. Things I thought were solutions were not at all. They were nonsense. My mind was not just thinking rubbish, but successfully convincing me to pay attention to that crap! What a jerk.

    So, after many years, I now know that my brain isn't the wonderful savior I always thought it was. And, by studying some great teachers that really work for me (I'm gonna mention Tolle here), I'm seeing the value of not thinking at all. Just being.

    There's a lot to this. It's great stuff. But I'll leave it at this. Don't trust your thinking. There is a you that is not your thoughts (and feelings -- most of those are just thoughts too). Just be for a while, and do some stuff, and don't let your thinking be the most important thing.

    Just try not thinking at all.

    Olivelady, Magalee, shania and 13 others like this.
  2. Frances M

    Frances M Mountain Woman

    I'm quite sure I've read Tolle at some point in my life...The Power of Now...I remember having a hard time grasping the concepts...I guess I wasn't ready to read about that. I know this will make you stabby but I do switch my negatives to positive thinking (I just ducked!! ;)), really though, that's what works for me a lot of the time. But it's like you said, if I think "omg I'm so anxious" I feel horrid, but if I say "okay, I'm so excited" then my mind frame switches. If I don't try to see the positive in all situations, I will fall back into depression.

    But having said that, I have just been in the "now" at times. My bf and I are doing much better, but there was a period of just under 2 years when he was getting progressively more emotionally abusive to me. During those times, I would really just zone out. I would forget everything and walk in the woods and concentrate on what was going on in that moment. That was the only coping technique I could use that didn't push me over the edge. I have serious emotional issues and betrayal from the one I love can push me to want to end things, even coming as far as I have in my recovery. Thinking positively didn't work in those situations, I had to just turn off completely.

    I also tend to overthink things. Especially when I'm confused by what someone says. I fear asking for clarification sometimes because I'm always afraid of an impatient answer, so I go through scenarios in my head as to why this person would mean x, y or z....I've stopped doing that for the most part and just spoken up, but it's a hard habit to break.
  3. draws

    draws Well-Known Member

    Great examples! Especially the switch from "anxiety" to "excitement". I love to travel but basically have a mini mental breakdown trying to pack. I have so many feelings I could explode! So, I just call them "excitement" rather than "omgholycrap panic". That sounds almost positive. Hmm. I'll have to work on that. ;)
    Frances M likes this.
  4. Frances M

    Frances M Mountain Woman

    There is something to be said about facing your fears. If you love to travel, then there must be a way for you to get those exploding feelings to cease so you don't miss out on what you love to do. I've read a lot of self-help articles, books and even new age blogs regarding accepting all the emotions you have. The advice is that if you feel anxiety, you need to feel it, accept it and not fear it, let it ride so to speak. I have never been able to achieve that because I think that anxiety in itself is terrifying. So when I feel anxious, I cup my hands over my eyes so I am in darkness and I breathe deeply and just keep reminding myself that it's not earth-shattering to be anxious! I'm nervous and excited...I'm okay with this feeling and it'll pass when it's bored with me. That helped me a little the other night.

    But...there are some fears I'm not willing to face at all anymore. I cannot fly, it's become traumatic, so I've accepted that I will not be traveling much in my life except by land. But that is quite okay with me because it's not that important to me. So I guess some would say I've given up, but some things are not worth the battle and the ensuing suffering!
  5. beatdown

    beatdown Well-Known Member

    Great post Draw. Thanks for sharing.
  6. Cody0991

    Cody0991 Boing, boing, boing... Staff Alumni SF Author SF Multi Media SF Supporter

    Thanks @draws!! this is great!
  7. Stephan Thompson

    Stephan Thompson New Member

    Really.. I agree with you..