Counter Punching Negative Thoughts

As I learn more about the power of placebo and the power the mind has over body I came up with a strategy for detailing with the sometimes upsetting thoughts. I’m not sure why it happens, but sometimes my brain just goes somewhere and I have to stop myself and wonder why the hell did I think that? Moreover, the birth of our first child is fast approaching and, although extremely happy and excited, it brings with it what-if scenarios and frightening thoughts around what could happen. We know that the mind doesn’t really know what is real and what isn’t so these thoughts can in fact generate a stressful reaction physiologically. This wreaks havoc on your immune system and mental wellbeing and therefore something I’d like to avoid. My strategy to counter these thoughts are broken down into three steps. First, I pan out of the thought and treat it as if I am preparing for it to happen from a tactical perspective. I don’t dwell, I just think practically around if I need to take care of someone, if I need to react quickly in an emergency like call or transport someone, or if I need to get into protect mode. As I mentioned above your brain doesn’t know this isn’t real so this exercise can truly prepare you for this experience and if it does happen you are ready to handle it. Also, this will force you to think of ways to avoid it. Second, I employ the stoic practice of negative visualization. This is similar to the first step, but this considers the emotional pain, if any, I would endure. There’s a lot of literature around negative visualization being a daily practice in order to cherish and appreciate what you have and this can even be used in a professional context as described here by Ryan Holiday. Third, and this is my favourite as it has been the most powerful for me, I think of the exact opposite. What would be BEST case scenario and I try to absorb the elation of simply staring at my new born child or my wife or someone I love. Have you ever had a fond memory or thought of or hoped for something that might happen and it just made you smile even when you’re alone? This is what I’m talking about. Right after the negative visualization we produce the uber-positive to bring your body back into a more tranquil and happy state.

Trying a different more short form format in my writing exercise. I would love any feedback, comments, suggestions.

Originally published at on December 7, 2016.

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