Stop negative loops

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Have you experienced one of those days when all seems ok, and then it doesn’t? Suddenly something happens that puts you at in the wrong direction of ok.

You start feeling anxious or ‘blue’, and it just takes over. I don’t know what triggers it when it happens to me. The science tells us that these hormone imbalances can occur at any moment.

But what to do?

Whether it’s anxiety or depression, the best thing to do is just let it happen. Let it flow through you, rather than getting upset it’s happening. Accepting what is going on may sound strange, but if you add another negative emotion to it, will only get worse.

Was reading this article and the author there calls this process “grounding’. It quite rightly connects this to mindfulness, as in essence it suggests to live the moment, and the moment alone.

Suggested steps

The ‘live in the moment’ expression is overused but it’s an excellent way to put it. Accepting what is going on requires acknowledging what’s around you and, well, what is happening!

There are five steps suggested, all to do with your five senses. Count what you can see, what you can hear, what you can physically feel, what you can smell and what you can touch. Simple, no?

This could also be a way of meditation, like most mindful activities are. Combine the connection to your senses with breathing and visualisation techniques, and the effect will be amplified. This article gives some more ideas on how to do this.

The research

The term grounding comes from a much simpler source. Researchers found that being better connected with Earth improves our mental health. In fact, another word that is proposed is ‘earthing’.

There are many disciplines connected with wellness that refer to energy flows. Whether you believe that or not, there is certainly clear evidence of energy around us coming from the planet overall. As part of a much bigger constellation, Earth emits invisible vibrations and those flow through us.

As these naturally occur, and so unconsciously familiar to us, research suggests that getting that connection back helps us stabilise. In other words, by getting yourself close to nature, even as simply as walking barefoot in grass, will make you feel better.

So the targeted approach explained before merely use this concept and expand it, to cover the other senses.

Why would this work?

Letting things flow through requires a huge amount of effort. It’s happening, you know what it means, and how it makes you feel (bad).

All conscious activity is overwhelmed with that, and so saying that you should just let it happen won’t make you think any less of it. So the trick is to get your brain to think about something else.

Any other cognitive task would be too complicated for the brain to handle in moments of significant stress. But your mind is used to a lot of automatic thinking. Things that are noticed in the subconscious.

So this activity makes that come to the fore. Cuts that conscious loop by forcing the brain in acknowledging thing that it already knows.

If I were to ask you right now to tell me 3 things you can see, the hardest part of the answer is verbalise them. Your eyes are working, your brain knows what they see, and therefore it’s not a taxing challenge.

You want to turn your attention away from your negative thoughts. There’s no need to think of these things you see, hear, etc as positive, only to notice them.

Your brain will thank the distraction, and the moment of pain will pass.

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