The mind produces thoughts constantly. It’s one of the many ways in which our minds are amazing and complicated places. Anyone who has meditated knows that when you sit and observe your thoughts without reacting to them, you get to see them for what they truly are: just thoughts. We actually don’t have control over our thoughts. In early recovery, disturbing thoughts can be especially pervasive. However, the problem arises not from the thoughts themselves, but rather from our reactions to them. Maybe you’ve experienced this pattern before. A thought arises in your head that’s rather disturbing. Perhaps it’s about your past or perhaps it’s a craving or a negative thought about yourself. If you choose to believe the thought and give it value, the thought becomes more and more important. Eventually, this can lead to anxiety, depression, or even relapse. So, what’s the answer? Don’t believe everything you think. Here are a few ways to cultivate mindful reactions to your thoughts.
Pause. When you catch your thought and choose to let it go, rather than dwell on it, you experienced increased freedom. Next time you notice a distressing though, try to take a few deep breaths and pause before reacting to it.
Notice your thoughts and label them. Paying close attention to your thoughts and assigning labels to them such as “helpful”, “hurtful”, or “false” gives them less power. When we label things, we begin to understand them with language and are able to approach things from a more objective standpoint.
Create an “add on.” An add on is a little sentence or phrase that you recite to yourself after a negative thought arrives. This can be something to the effect of “just thoughts” or “I am not my thoughts.” This simple recitation will help remind you that you don’t’ need to get whisked away by every thought that appears. You can let them float by. They’re just thoughts.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138