Briefly: Contrary to appearances it is not events that trigger affect, feelings, it is the meaning that our Unconscious has reflexively attached to the event. When experiencing negative affect apparently from an event dont confuse coincidence with causation. Do this:
1 What has just happened?
2. What meaning has my Unconscious attached to that event?
3.How does that make me feel?
4. What other meaning could I attach to this event.
5. How does that make me feel?
6. Much relieved
NB when ambushed by 2 recite 4. till you install it as a belief
Sometimes I may not have adequately acknowledged how tough it can be to conjure up new meanings. Of course Im happy for you to email to me examples of your application of this coping strategy and to help with suggesting new meanings.
Hopefully once conceptualised, it is necessary to practice for as with most 'learning', repetition of your new meaning is required for you to learn then install it as a belief and thus experience more positive affect. My very best wishes in tackling these 'ambushes' of your feeling state.
It is hard to grasp but each time we allow our self talk to dwell on grievance or past hurt WE are hurting ourselves so we owe it to ourselves to learn how to stop ruminating in its tracks. Here is how:
Be constantly self aware, alert to self talk and spot when you are ambushed by past events when you are behaving Camel like, ruminating, bringing back up the past for re digestion, then smile at yourself for being a Camel who don't just chew well, they regurgitate which is what the mind does in Rumination. They are ruminants so we call it Rumination.
Say to yourself "I am allowing....... to occupy my mind/ overwhelm me...." describing briefly the ambush. Here you recognise that YOU are doing it to you.
Asserted firmly. Here you firmly refuse to allow that stream of thought to continue,
Here you assert a Rebuttal of your thinking eg turning loss into opportunity after heartbreak:
"He is history. Now I am free to be found by someone worthy of me." We create different specific rebuttals for different Ruminations. By definition we don't YET believe our rebuttals but by determined reflexive repetition we install them as beliefs and our mood changes.
E) LET GO/REFOCUS
Now you deliberately take your mind to something/somewhere pleasant.
If 5 is difficult do something with your hands somewhere different even just a different room.
When 1 returns assert 4.
Rumination defence demands practice and repetition for each ambush. Send me a typical ambush and I will reply with a suggested rebuttal because it can be hard to think up and believe/install your rebuttals. Then each day for a week send me an ambush and your deployment step by step of this coping strategy.
To install the Rebuttal as a belief it can help to create a flash card with the SPOT and LABEL on one side and the REBUTTAL on the other. then learn the rebuttal off by heart so you reflexively deploy it when ambushed by that specific Rumination
Many people experience generalised anxiety. This stream of conscious technique can help relieve that. Only do this exercise when you are feeling stable because we dont want you to become overwhelmed by addressing a stream of current anxieties. If you beceome tense put it away till another day. Take a piece of A4 in landscape (more than one if necessary). Create six columns labelled:
- This week
- This month
- This year
In the 'Issue' column let flow a list of all your concerns using stream of conscious technique where one issue triggers another listing all the things you need or want to do and or are a worry.
Once you have your list of issues give them rank order where you identifie the most important, most pressing and address them in that order..it wont necessarily be the first on your list.
Then for each issue across the page choose a date for completion within your goal category eg This Week entry might be 'Wed 9 Jan'.
You do this for every issue even those you don't yet know how or even when. For most it will be a goal which is a dream/ambition with a date on it.
Unconsciously your mind will be pressed by that date to draw together anything the mind 'hears and sees' relating to the 'goal' and often it will surprise you when a solution just pops into your head as a result of this process even if the 'solution' is only a modification of your original plan.
This process is giving attention and promise of more attention to all those issues that this stream of consciousness technique has surfaced, that in your unconscious have been flag waving for attention creating underlying sense of anxiety and it will unconsciously make you feel less unconsciously anxious, more in control of life.