The Two Minds

  1. Whenever you feel a strong emotion or thought, disidentify with it and then take possession of it. “My boss is not an idiot. But I am having the thought that my boss is an idiot.” “I don’t hate my ex-girlfriend. I am feeling hatred toward my ex-girlfriend.” “I am not lonely and depressed. I am feeling loneliness and depression.” Language is very powerful. Notice when you disidentify from these emotions and thoughts in this way it 1) implies that they’re temporary states, and not permanent conditions and 2) forces you to take responsibility for them. They’re nobody’s fault, they just are.
  2. Thank your Thinking Mind for negative thoughts and emotions. This is a technique from ACT and it is effective. It may sound absolutely nuts, but it’s effective because it FORCES you to accept your negative emotions instead of fight them. “Thank you, Thinking Mind, for feeling nervous before my date tonight. It will keep me on my toes!” “Thank you, Thinking Mind, for being angry at my boss. I really appreciate how much you care.” This is going to feel really bizarre — expressing gratitude towards negative emotions. But I think you’ll find that it diminishes the power of the thoughts and emotions over time and actually impels you to take action despite them.
  3. Finally, if you find yourself in the heat of the moment, or if there’s something that’s really nagging at you, try this out. Take something that’s bothered you recently and hold it in your mind. Maybe it’s your girlfriend nagging you. Maybe it’s being terrified of talking to that cute girl in class next to you. Maybe it’s quitting your job. Distill it into a single sentence, such as, “I feel afraid of quitting my job.” Or “I feel irritated with my girlfriend.” Now close your eyes and imagine Bugs Bunny saying it, while chewing a carrot. Then Mickey Mouse saying it, while dancing and doing cartwheels.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store