One of the most common issues we have is our battle with negative thoughts. We seem to be in a constant tug of war with our mind. We think something negative about ourselves and we cut it off by trying to change the content of our thoughts. In a way, this is like adding more confusion onto an already volatile situation.
Instead of pushing negative thoughts away we have to bring our attention down to where our thoughts connect in the physical body, or how our body reacts to what we are thinking. You can understand your thoughts as circulation or repetition of content in your mind. It can feel confusing and chaotic. You can connect to the source of your thinking by observing your physical body as your mind runs through all of its content.
Our minds are the part of us that react to how we are feeling. It’s designed to identify sources of discomfort and, in doing so, find a way to change the situation or avoid it. This is why we place so much attention on our mind; it is our source of survival and helps us know how to react to situations. It creates a sense of control during times of instability or insecurity.
The way that our mind creates security is by protecting our feelings. When we are young we may have an experience that creates a feeling of instability. Something that happens to us and makes us feel insecure within ourselves. From this feeling we create a label or negative thought in order to know how to react to the situation. This label helps bring distance from the feeling in the body that is the source of discomfort. We make a conclusion about ourselves based on the situation in order to avoid feeling the insecurity or discomfort that is associated with the feeling. This is where negative thinking is derived from.
As a child, when we felt a sense of instability, we had to create a conclusion in order to identify the problem. Based on the experience of instability we develop mental labels about ourselves. In a way we make ourselves the problem and the cause of the situation and the source of instability. The development of this label helps us to move away from the feeling and into identifying and knowing how to act in order to avoid having to feel destabilized again. What ends up happening is we run toward our thoughts or conclusions in order to gain a sense of control over life. There are many different labels or patterned thinking that we may create such as I am wrong, unlovable, not good enough, disappointing, or unimportant, all of which is a conclusion that we made about ourselves during a time of insecurity.
By understanding this relationship between feeling and thinking, we can begin to go back to the source of our development of negative thoughts. Negative thoughts derive from our feelings about ourselves. In order to change negative thoughts we have to feel what is happening. By doing this, we create time and stability in the midst of insecurity. When we try to solve our negative thinking by identifying problems and changing them, we end up in a never-ending cycle of altering life so we can feel confident and secure. The reason this does not work is because it never gets to the source of our negative thoughts and it reaffirms and strengthens the patterns of managing life based on these deep-seated beliefs about ourselves.
Changing negative thoughts is simple and it is a choice. The choice is to continue to purposefully pay attention to the content of our mind, the physical body, and the held energy that thoughts circulate around. By doing this we make a bold statement: the way that we are is enough, and we no longer have to alter or change thoughts in order to bring resolution to our childhood labels. Stop the patterns of negative thinking by understanding the deeper connection to the physical body and find security within yourself. We are always being asked to come back to ourselves where we can find the source of security, love, and confidence.
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Jake White is a dedicated healing professional who practices Integrative Energetic Medicine in Winchester, Virginia. Since opening his practice in 2013 Jake has been offering private energy healing sessions, group meditations, workshops, and talks. He teaches meditation at Shenandoah University for the Recreational Department and has taught classes on spirituality for the Sociology Department. Jake leads group meditations at Jala Yoga, Capon Springs Resort, and his own meditation group at 611 S. Braddock Street in Winchester.