Welcome to day five of my Six-Day Challenge for Book Lovers. Today, we're focusing on our minds. We want to rid ourselves of negative thoughts and clutter.
To get rid of the negative thoughts, we need to do two things: self-hypnosis and journaling.
First, self-hypnosis, which is really a kind of meditation: this is something that I learned from my therapist.
Start with deep breathing exercises, to get yourself into a relaxed state. Then imagine you are walking down a gentle hill, descending lower and lower until you come upon a thickly-wooded forest. An animal guide greets you at the edge of the forest and takes you through the trees to a large clearing. The sun is shining in magnificent rays through the clouds above onto this clearing, and, standing there with open arms is your guardian. This should be someone you admire and trust. This person can be someone who has passed or someone still living. Listen to what this loving person has to say to you.
When my therapist taught me this exercise, I saw my aunt Margie, who had just passed away. She told me that my daughter was going to be okay and that I needed to live my own life--that my daughter would be okay if I didn't do everything for her 24/7. She told me to free myself of my self-imposed chains. It was an amzingly liberating moment. I cried my eyes out, and although I didn't change immediately, I've taken baby steps toward pushing my daughter to be more independent and allowing myself to live my own life.
Your guardian has a message for you, too. It's something you already know deep down inside. By projecting that wisdom onto a guardian, it may be easier to hear, to listen, to trust.
Another way to dispel the negativity is by writing down your fears, worries, and other negative thoughts and then restating them as affirmations, such as: "I feel helpless, BUT I'm going to find ways to take control. One way might be to x," or, "I feel unloved, BUT I know I have to love myself before I can expect others to love me," or "I'm drowing in financial problems, BUT there are steps I can take to get out of this."
Journaling at beginning or end of your day is an excellent way to overcome the negative thoughts and to declutter the mind. In addition to changing negative thoughts into words of affirmation, journaling can also be a place for list-making. One reason why I used to lie awake at night with the most horrible insomnia is that I used to think about all the things I needed to do. When I started jornaling, I would use it to get all those tasks down on paper, prioritize them, and then gradually make my way through them.
You don't have to spend a lot of time on this. Just a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day is all you need. If you don't already do this, why not give it a try?
1. Find a quiet moment to perform the self-hypnosis exercise I described above. Who is your guardian and what does he or she have to say to you?
2. Write down whatever negative thoughts have been plaguing you lately and turn them into words of affirmation: I feel x-, but y+.
3. Write down the things you have to do and prioritize them. Tackle the easy things first. Try to get at least one thing done on your list today.
4. Walk for at least twenty minutes today.
5. Put every item you use today back into its rightful place.
6. Post today's accomplishments in the group.
7. Comment on other people's posts with words of support and encouragement.
If you're looking for a journal to help you with positive thinking, I highly recommend Monica Sweeney's Zen as F*ck. I love mine and use it almost daily!