We all know by now, to some extent at least, that our thoughts and feelings are closely related to our experience of life. We know that any two people can have profoundly different experiences of the same event and that our thought patterns, opinions and beliefs actually determine the way our brain processes information.
With this said, sometimes when we are in a moment of difficulty, it is too intellectual to try and remind ourselves that we are creating our feelings in the moment with the thoughts we are paying attention to and that all things pass and we will have a new experience as soon as we allow new thoughts in.
Instead in these moments it can be very helpful to just tell ourselves to ‘Stop it!’
This is not to dishonour our feelings, negate our experience, judge or repress our emotions, rather it is a way to bring us back to reality when our thoughts and feelings are creating an unhelpful experience for us. If we are going round in a loop, feel disconnected and not at ease, if we are lost in feelings of despair or anxiety or even manically happy, it can be useful to give ourselves a short and sharp directive that makes us question our current take on life and gives us the wake up we need to gain some perspective.
Every one of us has had the experience of changing our feelings by changing our thoughts, whether that is by distraction, meditation, exercise, it can be done. ‘Energy flows where attention goes’ is an excellent phrase that we resonate with and see the wisdom in in our quieter moments but when things are all a little off kilter in our minds and it feels like too much effort or hard work to refocus – and our state of mind is giving us reasons why it won’t work anyway – change can be brought about by a simple ‘Stop it!’
Our thoughts are not instructions. We do not have to believe in them or act on them or even take them seriously although we often do. When they are creating an unhelpful experience for us it is natural that we buy into the feelings they are creating and listen to the thoughts that justify our position and experience but is it helpful for us?
Telling ourselves to ‘Stop it!’, snapping us out of our experience and reminding us that we are caught up in an illusion of our own creation can give us enough of a break to question our thoughts and step back from our experience. ‘Stop it!’ may seem harsh or aggressive but actually it is a phrase full of self love when we use it to break free of an unhelpful experience and return to ourselves and the peace of mind that resides within.
Header image: Sunset, Odilon Redon