The thoughts won’t kill you…
but they sure do feel like they are killing you in the moment. We often call them racing thoughts. Often, they happen at night when we’re trying to sleep, and it feels like our mind is running endlessly on a carousel of memories, images, and fears. When these thoughts happen, it feels like we can’t get off of the ride, so we struggle with the memories and pour more and more energy into the system.
What if we realized that simply having thoughts won’t kill us, and that those same thoughts don’t always have to overwhelm us. Thoughts are simply the biological function of our brain making connections between a previous experience we had and the experiences we are having right now. The connections might not even be very good or meaningful, like a similar color or smell, or possibly a slightly similar situation, but the brain still strives to make those connections in order to make sense of our current experiences.
Thoughts are information.
Like reading a book or scrolling through Twitter is a way of conveying information from one person to the next, thoughts are the Twitter feed our brain uses to convey information to us. We read the Twitter feed, we acknowledge the information that someone is trying to convey to us, but then we decide if we want to put more energy into the information, by opening the link and reading it, or less energy, by letting it scroll on by with all of the other connections.
Try these steps when first learning to manage racing and unwanted thoughts—
- View the thoughts as information
- Acknowledge that your body is trying to convey information to you
- Accept that there is some sort of connection, even if we can’t recognize it
- Decide if you want to put more energy into the thought or if you don’t want to.
If you don’t want to put more energy into the thought, you don’t have t,o and you don’t have to be scared of it. The thoughts won’t kill you merely by existing, just like twitter won’t kill us merely by existing. You can view, acknowledge, and accept that your brain has made a connection and simply give it time to scroll away as your brain gets bored and tells you about the new connections it made.
Phil is an anxiety and trauma specialist in telehealth private practice. To connect and learn more about how to live the life YOU want to live, visit www.myintegritycounseling.com or reach out to [email protected]