We all have around 70,000 thoughts a day. The biggest difference in how we perceive the quality of our day is linked to how we manage all of these thoughts.
Metacognitive therapy has had great results dealing with depression simply by limiting the amount of time clients spend ruminating over the things that worry us or what’s called trigger thoughts.
Remarkable results through a few steps practised and followed up professionally:
1) Become aware of the trigger thoughts
2) Define a certain time a day for ruminating – for example, every night 8-9pm
3) Every time during the day you catch yourself reacting to a trigger thought, you delay that ruminating: “I’ll come back to that at 8 pm”
Limiting the amount of time spent turning, twisting and twirling the negative or worried thoughts is the key. It’s NOT changing negative thoughts into positive, it’s NOT trying to empty your mind and not think at all (how can we possibly with 70,000 thoughts a day?).
It’s realising we ourselves have a choice: as the trigger thought pops up, decide to delay ruminating about it until 8 pm in your defined ruminating slot. During the day, we then practice doing two things with the thoughts coming and going: observing or detaching. Not trying to suppress them or pretend they’re not there.
Simply observe your thoughts, like the sushi train we talked about some months ago: Observing the plates of sashimi or tiger rolls passing by – knowing you don’t HAVE to grab them. Simply let them continue on the train. They may even come back a second time, you still don’t have to grab them.
As you practise, you’ll realise that it’s OK for both positive and negative thoughts to pass through our head. And that we have a choice of which ones we grab and linger on. And as we start practising not grabbing them until our “chosen ruminate slot”, they may even have passed or not be relevant when we get there.
So, it’s not a matter of whether we’ll HAVE negative or worrying thoughts because we will for sure. It’s realising we have a choice of how much attention we give them, and for how long.
This without saying goes for your own mind as well as for the collective mind in your teams and your businesses. We have a choice – and it’s not hiding the thoughts or discussions, it’s choosing how much time and when we give it attention…