You cannot control your first thought
But you can control your second thought
Mindfulness isn’t the absence of thoughts. Instead, its your awareness of your thoughts.
Trying to think positively all the time cannot help us with reprogramming our minds or changing our brain’s blueprints. We are who we are because of what happened to us in the past, the way we were brought up, the environment we were in and the programming our caretakers passed on to us.
Understanding WHY we do what we do can help us become more self-aware,
become less reactive
and become more mindful.
The way we react to stress, uncertainties, events, people and problems is our way of protecting ourselves. It is our defense mechanism to protect us from events in past, significant events that happened to us or to our family members and our ancestors.
Check Out Pete Walker’s Complex Stress Responses:
- driven by the belief that power and control create safety
- respond to their feelings of abandonment with anger, which intimidates others into submission
- feelings of fear and shame turn into anger and disgust
- unlike other responses, fight types view themselves as “good” and others as “bad”
- driven by the belief that being perfect will make them feel safe and lovable
- they respond to family trauma and inner pain by the flight of constant busyness
- They are highly-adrenaline people who are prone to anxiety, worrying and planning
- they may keep others at a distance with their self focused perfectionism and flight
Which one resonates with you?
- driven by the belief that people are dangerous and that safety is solitude
- dissociation allows freeze types to disconnect from feelings of abandonment
- often finds flaws in others that justify their isolation
- they seek refuge in sleep, day-dreaming, computer activities, tv, etc.
- driven by the belief that relationships require them to forfeit their needs, boundaries, rights, and preferences
- learn as children that to defend against their abandonment, they must become helpful and compliant
- they are often drawn to narcissistic types who are prone to exploit them
- recovery involves assertiveness and boundary-making
Which one do you gravitate to?
**Complex Trauma Responses by Pete Walker**
So how do you become more aware of your negative thoughts and change them?
Thinking positively does not really work because a lot of times it is ignoring the deeper issues and avoiding resolving the unresolved issues.
So when there is a stressor i.e. an event, a person, or something that is causing us to feel a certain way, we need to acknowledge it and name it or call out the feeling that is coming up.
Is it anger, fear, disgust, sadness or joy (AKNOWLEDGE IT).
Then feel it – don’t run away from it, feel it instead of “just think positively”!
Then understand why you are feeling that way. Asking why is this event or people triggering me.
HERE ARE 4 STEPS TO BE MORE MINDFUL OF YOUR REACTIONS:
Think of the acronym P.A.L.M. and you can even rub your palms together to help you practice.
- Pause – don’t react. Breathe instead.
- Acknowledge the feeling – name the emotion (anger, fear, sadness, disgust, etc.)
- Learn WHY – try to understand why (you feel triggered, reminds you of the past, what are you trying to protect yourself from)
- Mindful Action – healthy coping tools (cognitive change, walk, grounding exercises, breathing exercises, self-care, etc)
We are aiming for progress not perfection. Practice helps us become more mindful in our lives. Ignoring the underlying issues or past events in our lives can haunt us.
Old wounds can have all kinds of physical and psychological effects.
When we don’t deal with our traumas or issues, we carry it with us.
When we haven’t made sense of our story, and therefore, our past is still impacting our present in countless invisible ways. It influences how we parent, how we relate to our partner, how we feel, think, and operate in the world.
So when you feel stressed or triggered: PAUSE. ACKNOWLEDGE THE FEELING. LEARN WHY YOU FEEL THIS WAY. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR ACTION.