I bet you know what it feels like, when a topic or thoughts about an incident in the past or the future, just keep and keep you occupied. You may sometimes be OK with it but definitely wish to find the switch-off button when you want to do other things – like sleeping for example.
Become the Observer
So, what can you do in such a situation with a whole bucket full of recurring thoughts? Shift the focus to your bodily sensations. Maybe, you have not even realized that your body changes when you are triggered or things don’t go right. Watch what happens when you are criticized, when you do not get your way or someone doesn’t behave like you want them to. Observe without any judgment or wanting to change it. Try to slip into the role of an objective observer. Tell yourself that this is a totally normal reaction, everyone faces being triggered all the time to a certain extend. The more people care and the more they want to achieve something, the more they are at risk of getting into these trigger traps - if they do not retrain.
You Are Not a Sauce Pan
It is a LOT of energy that is spent on the triggering and the destructive aftermath. We usually, unless we are professional athletes, are not thinking much about our own energy levels in such a granular way. If you want to achieve more with less effort, you have to take time to get to know yourself. Professional athletes work a lot, not just with their body but also with the mind. They know that body and mind are strongly interwind. Thoughts and feelings are always there. The question is just what you do with them. Do you let them get stuck to you – or do you take them off the plate soon enough? Especially when something is important, you should not let it get sticky. You are not a saucepan after all, right? Instead, learn to let the triggers and thoughts ride through you.
Five steps for prophylaxis and for acute situations:
Sit down in quiet and stop all activities (I mean, ALL activities). Close your eyes if comfortable.
Sense what you can feel in your body.
Say “Hi” to your thoughts if they come back. You might want to smile at them. Sense what your muscles do – maybe they already loosened a bit once you smiled.
The same as, when a friend visits you for tea, let the thoughts visit you. Try to engage with them in the same friendly and welcoming way as you would with a friend.
When you and your be-friended thoughts feel it is time to say goodbye, let them depart. Thank them for the good company as you would do with a friend. Maybe your body feels softer and lighter.
Sustainable: Think of something today or this week you do not need to buy.
Art: Go for a walk and find art while you are walking.
Physical: Get centered with an abdominal exercise, e.g. Reunite With Your Core.