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Thinking Filtered – Part 2

“Stop taking life so seriously! You are making it a negative melodrama!”

Yeah – that’s me occasionally catching my filter of ‘taking it all on’ and focusing on the negative (thank you, unchecked Default Negativity Bias in our minds! Whoop!).

Can you relate? What have you noticed about what your mind is filtering for and thinking?

In our last post, I shared that our conscious minds can only process 40-50 bites of info/per second out of the 11 million bites of info coming into our brains and bodies. We also talked about the filter we create in our minds to make sense of this 40-50 bites of info/sec reality – and to start NOTICING what we were thinking – AKA noticing what thoughts we are filtering for.

What did you notice in the thoughts that your mind is filtering for?

Ah – I bet you found some good – and some thoughts and internal stories you might be sick of.

For the stuff you are sick of – what now?

Well – let’s pull out the toolbox and grab three easy tools:

One simple tool? Act like the radio in your car. Thoughts are like radio stations – one comes along you don’t like – switch to another radio station with a better story/thought. 

NOTE – this only works if you are kind to yourself. Coaching clients I work with are rather good at thinking they are broken and need fixing – or something is wrong with them. But those thoughts are just other “thought” filters we can put aside, like yucky radio stations. Like a scientist, simply observe and try another thought that feels better. 

But what if the station won’t change? 

Usually, emotion is making it stick, and the thought is on repeat. According to Jill Bolte-Taylor, neuroanatomist – there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body that is triggered by the thought; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop – repeating those 90-second cycles by repeating those thoughts.

Yeah – I have that, too. We all do! The following tool can help process contagion emotion.

According to the book “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, one of the most powerful ways to move that uncomfortable thought and emotion is through movement.

Boogie!! Bike ride! Run! Walk!

Ideally, you are so absorbed in physical movement that you aren’t thinking the toxic thoughts – or you are changing the channel when those thoughts come.

One more?

When the unpleasant thought is sticky and is filtering your world to be dark and gray – your nervous system is “dysregulated.” And to get back into a regulated, more peaceful state, your repetition of 3 seconds of breathing in and a 6-second-long exhalation will tell your nervous system to chill after 3-5 minutes – at least a bit more than what it was before.

In the grand theater of life, don’t let yourself be the star of a negative melodrama. Embrace these simple tools, switch the channel when needed, dance through discomfort, and breathe deeply. Your mind’s filter can change, and with practice, you can rewrite the script to one filled with positivity and joy. So, step into the spotlight of your own happiness and let go of unnecessary drama. It’s your show, make it a masterpiece!