A break! From negative spiral thinking #3
Written by Hillary R. Hoff
Part III: What can we do to change these thoughts and patterns?
There are numerous options that trace back thousands of years to how we can heal our thinking patterns and break the negative spiral from repeating. There is plenty of research encouraging to break patterns by replacing a negative thought with positive perspective, meditating, acknowledging gratitude, releasing, exercising, smiling, and accepting. Just as people may do with any addiction, change the behaviour by trying something new physically, mentally, or emotionally. Rather than being frustrated or drawing negativity toward yourself when stuck in traffic, force yourself to focus on the beauty of the scenery, take a deep breath in, give thanks that you are capable of driving a vehicle, put music on and dance while in traffic or take a moment to view a child daydreaming off in the distance accepting that you are placing yourself in the current state of frustration while others around you are not.
All the suggestions mentioned above are in connection to what I like to call, “finding your flow.” Through yoga, meditation, relaxation, frustration, trauma and personal growth I am still slowly discovering my flow. I talk to myself, I talk to animals, I dance and twirl as I go on long runs, I climb to high places, I floss, I tell someone I love them and ask for hugs, I randomly wiggle, I write sticky notes around my room, I drink large gulps from my water bottle, I smile at strangers and compliment them, I flip coins when making tough decisions, I stand in the sun, I jump, shake, stretch or do yoga when I feel a negative thought is taking over. I find joy in doing the things I did as a child to discover my flow on a deeper level; activities I can do anywhere anytime involving the dependency of very few material items. What activities are involved in your flow? I encourage people to find what their flow is to break their negative spiral, whatever it may be. “Everybody” and “every” “body” is different, discovering what helps you take a step back and mindfully ask yourself, “Why am I thinking this way, is it worth my time and energy to think about this or focus on this in this moment?”, “what can I do right now to make the situation better or make me feel better about the situation?”. “What can help me feel centered, grounded, loved, respected, or just feel like myself right now!?”
Maybe your flow is based through more structure and routine, more freedom or space to recognize your patterns to break them. One of the oldest and my personal favourite traditions of healing is dancing. Dancing is such a beneficial activity when breaking patterns, it allows us to stop a pattern through our own heart beat and rhythm, creating brand new patterns and thoughts depending on what feels good in the present moment. Whether the pattern is physical or mental, we take control, we change the pattern to how we want and follow the music. Music is guiding us and thus takes the pressure off ourselves to begin this change. However, are we able to do this alone without music or free of support of anything other than our own minds? Take your time to slowly recognize what makes you feel good to break your negative thoughts and patterns, can you do this free of support from people, materials items, or location? It’s ok to have negative thoughts, allowing to feel our emotions and accepting them is extremely important but also being aware of whether our responses are destructive to ourselves or our environments will determine what is right for each of us. Ask questions aloud or internally, despite the physical surroundings. Find your flow to take it anywhere with you, whether you’re in traffic, the hospital, the beach, in a different country, at work, home, or another planet. Build your flow from the inside, exactly where the thoughts and patterns began!