Posts tagged with “negative thinking”

Getting Past Intrusive Thoughts

One of the most frequent questions I receive here at The Mind-Body Training Company is “How do I overcome negative thoughts that come up when I try to improve my life?” You know those phrases like “I can’t do this,” “This is just too hard,” “Who do I think I am?” and “What’s the use?”

These phrases can be quite distracting, lead you to feel bad, and intrude on your best intentions. In this post, we’ll explore some insights from Dr. Otto Scharmer’s research at M.I.T. on how the top leaders and innovators handle that and move to powerful solutions.

So, what did Scharmer’s research reveal?

First of all, Scharmer found that successful leaders and innovators share certain attitudes and strategies to create a positive mental environment for success. He synthesized his findings into what he calls Theory U. Theory U takes participants through seven stages to develop what he calls “presencing,” a state of inner stillness in which inner knowing comes to the surface.

Sounds a lot like what we do in meditation.

The first stage of this process is to “observe, observe, observe.” You learn to recognize the voice of judgment which reflects a lack of acceptance of what is really happening. You notice habits of being self-critical or blaming others, so you can consciously set them aside, and move deeper into a state of “full immersion” that reveals the best solutions to what is actually going on.

As you accept the chaos of the ever-busy critical mind, challenge its assumptions, and consciously let them go, you begin to access a quieter mental space in which you can ask substantial questions like “Who am I?” “What is my work?” and “What is the highest future possibility in this situation?”

Now, this process happens in stages. The first stage is perhaps the most essential, as it sets up the rest. In the first stage, you learn to recognize where your mind is coming from at the moment. In other words, you observe the different thoughts you have. You recognize the memories, inner critical voices, cynicism, and fear that intrude on your consciousness and color how you are looking at things.

You accept all of this, so you can see it more clearly and realize the results of your thinking. This alone is a powerful step. The ability to “observe, observe, observe,” sets the stage for diving deeper to access authentic, effective, creative solutions.

You can apply this idea whenever you run into a challenge or a stumbling block, whenever you feel stuck on “where to go” or “what to do.” You simply start from where you are now. And a big part of that is becoming more aware of what you are thinking. That doesn’t mean that you have to know 100% of what is going on in your mind. That could be an endless task. It just means that you begin to be aware of thoughts that stand out.

This can be as simple as turning inward and noticing the words that are streaming through your brain. See if you can witness what your mind is saying, without getting caught up in it or reacting to it. Is it possible to just watch your thoughts?

In that process, you start to grow a little mental “wiggle room.” You start to separate “who you are,” from all the various things that are going on in your head. As you watch and observe, you may start to experience a little quietness, a little more clarity, a little deeper connection to “what you are here to do,” and the best steps to get there. When you practice this consistently, that bit of awareness can grow into a quiet inner presence that senses your best solutions.

Enjoy your practice!


Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. Meditation is one of the best ways I know to learn to observe your thoughts, grow that quiet inner presence, and discover deeper knowing. Click here to discover The Secrets of Meditation.

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Is This Word Causing Your Stress?

You’ve got a lot to do. The world is asking you to do it in less time, so you can do even more. There’s an insane pressure in all this busyness that’s pushing you to the edge. Yet, what if it’s not all those demands “out there” that are doing it to you?

What if there’s a word you keep saying subconsciously that’s at the root of the stress you feel? What if knowing this word and how to turn it around could free you from stress?

For example, when you’re stuck in traffic and late for an appointment, what do you say to yourself?

When a new stack of work lands on your desk on Friday afternoon, what does your subconscious tell you?

When your kids are complaining about not getting the latest iPhone when they just got one for Christmas, what is it that makes your blood boil?

Is there a word that subconsciously triggers the tension that shoots up your spine?

Could the source of your stress lie in the word “should” and its partner “should not?” Before you shake your head in disbelief or disagreement, let’s see how that could be and how you might use that insight to free you from stress.

Recall a recent time when you felt stressed-out. Take yourself back to that moment and remember how you felt in your body. Can you remember what you were thinking at that moment?. . .

Now, can you phrase that thought as a “should” or “should not” statement?

For example, “There shouldn’t be so much traffic in my way.” “I should be done with my work for the week, so I can enjoy my weekend.” “My kids should be happy with what they have. We didn’t have any of this when I was a kid.”

The bottom-line is: When you are thinking things “should be” different than they are, you feel stress.

Now, here’s a simple strategy that can begin to release that stress from your mind.

List all the reasons you can think of “why things are the way they are.” For example, “It’s eight a.m., which is rush-hour, so, of course, there’s lots of traffic.” “We just got a new account at work, so, I can expect there’s going to be lots to do.” “My kids want to be liked by their peers, so, it makes sense that they want the latest iPhone.”

When you begin to notice the causes for the way things are, it can take the edge off the stress you feel. You can then choose to accept them as natural instead of fighting against them. This opens the door to taking productive action.

You can then ask yourself, “Given what is happening, what’s one thing I can do right now to feel better and move things in a positive direction?”

When you ask that question and take that action, you will likely immediately feel more empowered and less stressed. Then you can put your time and energy into what can make things better.

I would love to hear some of your thoughts that cause you the most stress and what helps you turn those around. And, if you enjoyed this post, please share with your family, friends, and co-workers. 🙂

Have a great week!

P.S. Meditation is a great way to discover your stressful thoughts and turn them around. Learn more about our Mind-Body Training courses here: Programs on Meditating and Manifesting

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