Sometimes life serves us curveballs.
It’s how we deal with them that makes all the difference in our lives. It determines whether we feel happiness and peace… Or stress, overwhelm, and fly off into a curse-word frenzy.
I had a doozy of a curveball last week. I went to hang out with a fairly new acquaintance. It should have been a fun, easy evening. Instead, not one, but THREE curveballs were thrown my way. Misinterpretations led to my boundaries being crossed, topped off by words spoken that were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
On my drive home, I vented the whole way, no doubt looking like a crazy person in my car! By the time I got home, I was on a more even keel and went to sleep.
When I woke up in the morning, I smiled when I heard a bird singing outside. Until… BOOM! The whole incident from the evening before flooded back into my memory. For a minute I was right back there, watching an inner movie of the debacle, feeling the anger again, hearing our dialogue…
Until I remembered some Mind Loops research:
Experts say that each of us thinks approximately 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lotta thinking.
Unfortunately, a whopping 70% of those thoughts are REPEAT thoughts. Ugh.
Even that wouldn’t be so disturbing if the majority of our repeated thoughts were loving, supportive and creative. But they aren’t. We all know that.
What you may not know however is the AMOUNT of unloving, unsupportive, and uncreative thoughts we have on a daily basis.
Here’s the shocking fact: 80% of our thoughts are NEGATIVE. Eighty-percent! Wow.
(There’s evolutionary reasons for this high percentage, but I won’t get into that here). No wonder we get sick and dizzy spinning around on the mental loop-de-loop! The cool thing is I was able to use that statistic to my advantage – and you can too.
When I caught myself starting down that all-too-familiar muddy path into a Mind Loop, I asked myself:
“Is this thought WORTHY of repeating?”
Was it going to help the situation, make me feel better, fix a problem, lead to insights, bring me peace, or make me or anyone else happier?
Our minds are capable of thinking only one thought at a time. So did I really want to clog that mental funnel with a loop about an evening gone awry?
So I let the negative memory go… and smiled.
I call this approach: “Catch and Release.”
Which is not to say it went away and that was that. The budding loop ‘nudged me’ probably 5 times during the day in an attempt to hook my attention. But I kept catching it, knowing what it was up to, and bringing my thoughts back to that question: “Is this thought WORTHY of repeating?”
Because the truth is – and I imagine the same is true for you too – that I want to use my mind to think brilliant thoughts! I want to have it fresh and open and available for creativity, compassion, fun!
And CATCHING the negative thought before it has a chance to mutate into a loop is KEY. This is SO important in fact, that it’s the 1st step in the ‘9 D’s of De-Looping’ process that I teach (and that will be described in my upcoming book). You need to catch it before you can release it.
Mind Looping is an often unconscious behavior at the beginning. Awareness is a skill. With practice, you’ll be able to notice when a loop is starting early on, and nip it in the bud. Or “catch and release.”
In the past, I would have looped on that Event for days. I would have shared the melodrama with numerous people, while quietly blaming, resenting, suffering…
But I didn’t. And that’s not because I’m so great, or because it wasn’t a juicy story to tell (it was). It’s because I know about Mind Loops, I’m on to them, and I KNEW that looping on it, re-telling it, and re-living it would harm ME.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t have the URGE to loop on it. Mind Looping is a HABIT. It can become COMPULSIVE. And as with any habit or compulsion, it’s ‘one day at a time,’ one instance at a time, one moment of awareness at a time of making a different CHOICE that leads us to relief from those behaviors – and ultimately to more happiness.
Now I can look at the Event as just another of life’s bizarre curveballs. And this time, I didn’t let it strike me out. I’m more informed, stronger, and ultimately, better off.
I hope my story serves you! And my wish for you this week is: NO curveballs!
To your happiness,
photo credit: Judd McCullum via Flickr Creative Commons