We all do it. When something in our life goes wrong or doesn’t work out the way we want it to, we have this compulsion to continually think about. For some of us, we can become quite obsessed about it. We talk to other people about it. We search the internet. We have intimate dialogues in our head as we analyze it. Rationalize it. Defend our behaviours. We even have imaginary conversations with those individuals who we deemed have wronged us. Round and round we go.
It doesn’t matter whether it is a failed relationship, a job loss, a dismal health prognosis, the death of someone or even a stupid argument; we as humans have this need to troll through our memory banks searching for the answers. Why did this happen to me? What could I have done differently? When did this chain of pain begin?
To add to the dialogues of what happened, some of us begin creating alternative scenarios. If only I would have done this then that wouldn’t have happened. Or I should have done this or said that. Or I could have. The problem with would have, could have and should have statements is they are usually breeding grounds for guilt, anger, shame, doubt, regret and blame. They are also based on what you already now know. When the situation happened you didn’t have the foresight you now already possess.
Although perceptions after the fact are sometimes good for future situations, they do little to change what has happened. In addition, many times our constant thinking about what we could have done differently is spun in a way that makes us think the outcome would have been better. It might have or it might not.
We have all heard the story about the individual fired from their job only to find the job of their dreams a few months later. The person who was a workaholic and was faced with a health crisis that forced them to changed their lifestyle for the better. Sometimes from our present standpoint we only see the negative not understanding that what has happened may have been the necessary catalyst for you to improve or change your life.
When our thoughts are focused on what has happened, we end up locking ourselves in a vibrational pattern which does not serve us. It actually anchors us to the situation, and makes it difficult view the situation from a higher perspective. So how do you shift your thinking when you are in the middle of a bad situation?
1. Move to Appreciation – Sit down at your computer and starting writing statements which start with: I appreciate... Keep typing until you feel an energy shift.
2. Use the 68 second rule to modify your thinking.
3. Recognize that everything in life is just an experience. What has happened has happened. Give up rationalizing it and eliminate the: would have, could have or should have scenarios from your internal and external dialogues.
4. You cannot change the past, however you can change your perception of it. Revise it.
5. You are where you are and if you keep telling the same old story you will get the same old crap. Give up the old and focus on what you do want in your life.
6. Breath. Your breathing is tied to your emotions. If you are angry, your breathing is rapid. Anxious it is shallow. Focus on taking long, slow deep breaths and you will find your body will start to relax and your thinking will change.
7. Change any statements starting with: ‘If only...’ to ‘I wonder what would happen if...’
8. In First Nation traditions we use an herb called sage to clear out negative energies. The herb is placed in an abalone shell, lit and the smoke from it is circulated throughout a room. They now sell this herb in smudge sticks which can be lit and circulated throughout a room.
9. Take a 20 minute hot bath. Throw in two cups of Epsom or sea salts. You can also add 10 drops of lavender essential oil, cedar branches, or 3 tablespoons of green clay. If you are really going down a negative road, use them all.
10. Start looking forward. To move your dialogue to the positive begin with: “I am so looking forward to...”