A few weeks ago I noticed I’d spiralled. I felt hounded by my mind because these thoughts were of the crazed variety – you know the ones where you just imagine the worst possible scenario’s. Yeah that. So obviously I wanted to stop these irrational thoughts and find my way to worry less.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s been grey and raining every single day for the past three weeks (I am not a fan of October to say the least) or if it’s simply something transmuting for me (possible because a ton of random memories from way way back came up for healing also) but whatever it was threw my mind into a space of complete irrationality.
We all get those thoughts right – fleeting moments where you’re driving and your imagination takes you off to the what if’s – what if I crashed this car into a big lorry, what if I loose control and dropped off this hill, what would happen to my child if anything happened to me – that kind of thing. Often the thoughts come, pass and leave again after your rational mind kicks in and tells your imagination to get back into its box.
But for me it didn’t stop.
Day after day these thoughts came up. I watched them, observed what they were, what it was all about, how anxious I was feeling and tried to ride the wave.
But I felt it – physically my body felt anxious, nervous, filled with worry and I’m not totally out of the woods yet, but I wanted to jump on here and share with you what it is that’s helping me stop irrational thoughts and worry less whilst it’s all present.
So what are these irrational thoughts and where do they come from?
This type of thought comes from our imagination. That’s why it can be so easy to let them pass and release when our rational mind of what’s more likely to happen kicks in.
That’s why when you see a child watching a tv show and something ‘scary’ is going to happen they’re quite literally petrified – because they don’t have that logical, rational, experienced mind to tell them otherwise at this point.
These thoughts can be of benefit to us.
They can keep us safe, make us cautious of social dangers, help us drive a little more safely.
Or they can make us a little bat sh*t crazy until we cry to stop the irrational thoughts train and jump ship!
This was a huge one for me after the birth of my daughter. I had complete hormonal overdrive, I was afraid to hurt her, drop her, leave the house with her and spent maybe 6 weeks being completely irrational (but also getting attached!).
Looking back I feel like I dropped into the bat sh*t crazy category for a bit there (no judgement)
Now I know that these things come up for a reason. It’s our biological way of staying safe, of keeping ourselves in a safe space, to keep us away from the unknown and it’s possible dangers to us.
I know – it sounds a bit extreme but from the point of view of our really rather clever system these possible crazed scenarios make us cautious, they tell us not to do this really crazy long ski run incase we can’t handle it, hurt ourselves and die. They keep us safe. They keep us at the level of living our lives that we are comfortable with.
And that’s the key.
They keep us comfortable.
So with a looming move to Bali coming up in just a few months time, with our tickets to Thailand (our first stop) bought and booked and the unknown laying the other side of it it’s no wonder I’m experiencing a few crazies come up about loosing my child in the airport and whether is possible to chip a small human (that one passed quickly don’t worry!). Obviously I figured it would be rather nice to feel excited and stop irrational thoughts hounding my mind so I’ve been following a little process to worry less that I’ll share with you shortly.
So how can we help these thoughts pass by not hold fast?
Here’s the thing, we have on average 60-80,000 thoughts per day. It’s estimated that perhaps 2/3rd of those thoughts are repeated from the day before so it goes without saying that if we’re thinking irrational thoughts repeatedly, they’re going to keep playing on.
This isn’t always the case for irrational thoughts because our logical mind more often than not kicks those crazies into touch.
However, as the past fortnight has taught me, some things can linger – especially when we’re about to do something crazy exciting and slightly out of the ordinary with our lives.
So getting to the good stuff – here’s are 10 steps for releasing and stopping the irrational thought spiral so you can get back into a more relaxed and functional state.
1. Figure out what it is you’re panicking / worried / feeling anxious about.
There’s usually something laying behind irrational thoughts. Something that’s causing you to wobble right now. Question yourself – ask what it is, journal, talk, think it over – and write it down.
The act of writing, committing something to paper helps your mind – and your body – process your truth. So get it down.
2. Consider the outcome you really want.
Ask yourself what you want to happen – what you want the scenario you may be panicking about to come to – what you want it to be like.
For me my thoughts are coming up because we have this trip on the horizon and this fear of the unknown is creating my worry so I’ve intentionally been thinking about, writing and visualising what I want the trip to be like, how I want to feel when we are there, what experiences we’re going to have as a family and filling my senses with the idea of the sights, sounds, smells, the feel of the ocean on my skin, sand in my toes and so on.
I’m effectively prepping my body to know what it’s going to be like so it can settle, so it can calm, so my mind can get used to the idea of the unknown being a safe space.
It’s conditioning – it’s adjusting our mindset and it works so much more deeply than we even know.
Meditate on point two – the outcomes, close your eyes, let your mind take your body into the scenario you are thinking about and release the worry.
This isn’t only training your mind and taming your thoughts, this is you telling your subconscious that it’s going to be ok, that it can calm, have a cuddle, feel better.
4. Take a step back
Taking a little distance will help you differentiate between what’s happening and what it is you’re thinking about.
This gives us space for our rational mind to kick in, for us to engineer that process and help it run smoothly so we can get to the stage where we know this is just a random crazy popping in on its way past.
And we can let it go.
5. Remember that thoughts are illusions
They’re not real, they have no substance, they are simply energy moving through your brain and taking on form in your mind.
Yes they’re still powerful but so are you. If this is a tricky one for you to put into practice grab a piece of paper and write down all of the things that you‘ve previously imagined could happen and write down how many of those things came true for you.
I bet your list doesn’t match up but the proof is in the pudding.
6. Remember that worry or anxiety can often come from shame
Shame around whether you’re doing something right, whether you’re enough, whether other people are going to like you.
The idea that who you are, what you’re doing or what you’re putting out into the world is ‘not right’ can put us into panic mode, into fight or flight and we get a rush of energy motivating us to put it right.
When that energy comes up or we get that thought to go and check that social media post that we checked 10 times before posting to make sure that it’s still right or ‘good enough’ the key here is to intercept it – before taking action on it.
So the energy comes up, we get the thought to go ‘fix’ the thing that’s not right or not good enough and in that moment we can notice that there is a feeling of panic, anxiety, worry over not being able to fix it.
At this point we have two options – we can either go for the fix and reassure ourselves that what we wrote is in integrity for us so it’s all good. Or we could not check it and direct our logical minds to the process of checking it 10 times before posting it anyway and allowing yourself to settle into self trust that it’s not changed and is still in integrity for you.
This helps us release the shame that comes from being out of integrity with ourselves.
7. Remember that you’re not going crazy
Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes and its ok for us to experience a huge range of thoughts and emotions – that’s what we’re here for – to experience, to feel, to learn and to grow.
And you’re in good company.
8. Shift your focus
Is this thing that I am thinking about true for me?
Is it a likely outcome?
How do I know it to be true – what is my proof?
Your questioning will more than likely stop at the first question.
9. Bring yourself back to yourself
If you’re having a panic attack it can be harder to release things and simply let them pass but pass they must.
All we need to do in these instances is breathe.
Literally. Focus on the breath, count in 1,2,3 and breathe out and count 1,2,3 – focus your mind on your body, allow yourself to become less cerebral, come back to yourself and allow it to pass.
And it will. I speak from experience. I promise it will.
10. Take the lesson.
Irrational thoughts surface when something is a possible threat to the status quo – when something is going to change, when our comfortability thermostat is about to get a boost.
Consider what that means – it means you’re growing, expanding, it means that you’re stretching yourself into a new space, opening yourself up to new experiences, that you’re living your life without the limits that you or other people have impressed upon you.
And that’s ok.
In every single second you are growing.
In every passing moment of uncomfortability you are growing.
In every rushed breath of panic you are growing.
With every controlled breath it is passing allowing you to move forward into growth, into life, into love and into a place where you actually want to be.
Everything in our lives comes down to one thing – how well we know ourselves and how much we can stay in integrity with ourselves.
It’s self connection.
When we’re disconnected we run on autopilot, when we’re disconnected we experience shame regularly throughout the day – the fear of not being enough, good enough or right – imposter syndrome, self doubt, insecurities.
And when we experience irrational thoughts we’re often not connected to ourselves, to what we want, to what it is that we know as truth.
Self connection is our key to moving forward with grace to a space where we can release anxiety, shame and pressure.
You can grab two freebies I have on my resources page that can help you connect deeply with yourself right here.
The first exercise will help you identify where in your life things are falling out for you – and it will show you the first step you can take to changing that around so you can enjoy your life more, move towards your desires for your life, health or business and know that you’re in integrity with what you value and desire cutting down worries and irrational thinking. You can get it here.
The second exercise will help you identify what’s unique about you, what your tastes are, what your unique perceptive aesthetic voice is bringing you closer to knowing yourself, your talents, to using your life experience as expression. All of this helps us build self trust, self esteem and the courage to be seen and to share. It’s yours for a click here.
Or if you want to dive full into getting to know yourself more so you can navigate irrational thoughts, anxiety and insecurities more quickly through knowing yourself on a deeper level and building confidence, self esteem and direction – check out Solace right here.