Updated: Mar 18
AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
POSITIVE THINKING ASKS YOU TO DISCONNECT FROM YOUR BODY
Sensations are feelings in our body that start in our body and go to our brain. Sensations include hunger, pain, hot, cold.
Feelings start in our brain and become sensations in our body.
Sensations and feeling are closely related. Sensations can cause feelings and feelings can cause sensations.
Thoughts and feelings we think over and over develop into beliefs.
Positive thinking is asking your brain to ignore the real sensations you are feeling in your body and believe this new thought. Disconnecting from our body will never result in change in our thinking. Embracing your current sensations is the only way.
Neutral thinking takes stock of your current sensations in your body and allows you to honor them while changing your thinking out of your current unhelpful thoughts.
The goal isn't to just think positive. The goal is to acknowledge what you're experiencing and change your thinking about it.
IT'S A TRAP
Positive thinking is right there with procrastinating and perfectionism. It's another trap to avoiding anything uncomfortable.
Much like defeating procrastination we need to gather the facts, sensations in your body, and then deal with them. After you have all the facts you can look at what you're dealing with and make informed decisions of how to proceed.
Positive thinking keeps you stuck. You're trying to convince yourself of something you're not buying because it doesn't acknowledge the facts. Positive thinking misses the mark.
EXAMPLE - Health anxiety
I've had ulcerative colitis since I was a teen. There have been long stretches I was well, then I'd have stomach pain. Before long, thoughts would creep in about if I am having a flare, how will I handle it, how long will it last, will it be worse than last time.
Deciding I wasn't going to live my life in fear of a flare, I had to figure out how to quiet those thoughts.
Positive thinking suggestions often land flat. Positive thinking is similar to being sympathetic. It misses the mark of being empathetic.
Acknowledging that I felt stomach pain needed to be part of the solution, not ignore with positive thoughts about when it will go away. Positive thinking often asks us to escape the present moment to seek relief. Neutral thinking allows us to stay in the present moment by feeling the things we are feeling as they presently are.
Neutral thinking allows you to rationalize your way out of despair. Yes, I have stomach pain. Yes, in the past stomach pain sometimes meant a flare. Yes, that is scary to think about. AND Yes, I can feel this pain and it not be a flare. Yes, I need more time and information to know if this is a flare. Paying attention is a good idea. I'm going to wait and see how long this does last and if it continues I'll see my doctor to assess what's going on and come up with a plan.
NEUTRAL THINKING IS THE SOLUTION
Neutral thinking allows you to stay grounded in the facts, acknowledge your current situation and think your way out of spiraling thoughts.
Neutral thinking allows you to feel what you are feeling and not make it mean anything about yourself.
Think of how much time you will save by saying I feel this sensation and I'm ok.
NOW IS THE TIME TO LEARN NEUTRAL THINKING
No better time than now to learn to quiet your mind. Uncertainty is our biggest fear as humans. Well, awareness of uncertainty. Uncertainty always exists, now it is front of mind.
You have the opportunity to develop a strategy to regularly manage your thoughts and bring them up to neutral thinking so you can functions well in your life and feel safe.
You owe it to yourself and your health to work on your thinking.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
1. Set a routine for our new circumstances.
2. Eat nutritious meals. Do not buffer your feelings with food and alcohol.
3. Move, take a walk. Do your favorite exercise.
4. Be on your mind. Manage it's thoughts. Coach yourself through this.
5. Make a plan to be proactive about your health. Proactive health is the best strategy for when a time like this comes. It is never too late. Nutrition is very forgiving, positive changes add up.