In last week’s blog post Filtering Thought-Spam, I wrote about how your mind’s “ignore” functions like an e-mail spam folder for unhelpful thoughts. Since recognizing spam-like thoughts tends to be easier than ignoring them, you might try some of the following ignore strategies.
Meditation establishes a solid foundation for your ignore. You practice observing your thoughts rise and fall while neither getting too attached to them nor resisting them. A meditation practice also reduces reactivity when bothersome thoughts surface in everyday life. Unfortunately many people erect barriers against meditating, telling themselves they can’t do it, they just don’t have what it takes, it’s too time-consuming or weird or whatever. Fascinating how spam-thoughts prevent starting a practice to reduce those very thoughts!
Label erroneous thoughts “spam” or “phishing scams” to distance from them. If needed, you can follow with the thought “And what do you do with spam? Delete it, of course!” Anything which drains the power of thoughts helps. Retain your power to choose whether or not to act on your thoughts.
Observe yourself thinking. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living, shares an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based strategy where you say to yourself, “I notice I’m having the thought that….” This brings you into the observer role and reduces identifying with your thought or even believing you *are* your thought.
Apply the three Jin Shin Jyutsu® acupressure organ self-helps known “Face Flows” to reduce excessive thinking. These flow through your head calming your busy brain, therefore they also help with thought-induced insomnia. Try the Stomach, Bladder, and Gallbladder Organs Face Flow self-helps.
What tricks and strategies do you employ to ignore your thoughts? What makes ignoring easier or harder?