Thoughts are harmless

I named this blog, “Thoughts are harmless” intentionally and with a particular reason. Mostly because I struggle to believe it, and somehow seeing it there in black and white makes it real.

I know I’m fighting against the idea that thoughts are harmless. I have some really dark thoughts sometimes. Thoughts that sweep me up like a tornado and I’m turned around and around, never knowing where I may land. It’s a ride that is difficult to get off. Recently I haven’t been able to exercise to control my anxiety because of the surgery I had a month ago, so my thoughts have run rampant.

I am on medication (#medicatedandmighty) for depression and anxiety that I take daily. Unfortunately there is a subtle balance between managing your anxiety and depression while not over medicating to where you can’t feel anything. My doctor is hesitant to change my meds while my schedule is wonky after the surgery. Lately I’ve been forced to face my anxiety head on, without my best tools to fight it.

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Anxiety is a tough thing to deal with. Personally my anxiety comes in a lot of forms. Several are included in the picture above. The most common side effect of my anxiety is feeling like I’m choking and can’t breathe. If you have read my blog called Start you can understand why this is so triggering for me.

My mother dragged me out of bed one night, pinned me against a wall and wrapped her hands around my neck. I couldn’t breathe. Thankfully she decided against killing me and I’m still here. As you can imagine, being anxious and feeling like I’m choking and can’t breathe is really triggering and makes the anxiety worse.

Recently I found something that really helps with anxiety. As I said in my title, thoughts are harmless. They are just thoughts. Mindfulness helps to get out of the thoughts, out of the tornado and back to reality. Try this exercise below when you get swept up by your thoughts and see how it brings you back to reality:

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I know I feel super lame doing that exercise, but I can tell you it really does work.

So back to the idea that thoughts are harmless. I got this idea from Louise L. Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life”. She says, “the only thing we are ever dealing with is a thought, and a thought can be changed”. Wow, what a concept.

Some damaging thoughts that I have seem pretty powerful to me. “I’m a monster; my mother hates me so everyone will; I’m a bad person; I’m stupid, ugly, an idiot…” and on and on. Louise says that every thought brings a feeling, so if we don’t have the thought, we won’t have the feeling.

Think about that person in your life who says something positive to you. “You’re beautiful.” What’s the first thing you think? I know I think “yeah right, they’re out of their mind and just telling me that to make me feel better”. We immediately dismiss that positive thought and throw it away. That means we can take those negative thoughts and throw them away instead. Think about it. We can take the, “I’m unlovable” and throw it away instead of “I’m beautiful”. It’s really the same concept. Much more difficult, but the same thing.

We are in charge of our thoughts. It’s our brain, our thoughts. Trust me, I know how difficult this is. I think about all of the negative words that run through my mind in one day. Although, I try to think about it like this, “would I tell someone else those things”? Hell no. I wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and tell them they’re ugly. So why should I tell myself that? We are tearing ourselves down every single day. Other people tear us down and we don’t have much control over that. But we do have control over ourselves. It won’t be easy, and may take years to master. I’m willing to give it a try. Let’s start today, together. I’m beautiful, caring, lovable and amazing. And so are you!

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