3 Steps to Organize Your Mind Closet

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If you're like me, once a year or so you put aside a few hours to dive into the underwhelming job of cleaning out your clothes closet.
You critically look over every item, one by one, automatically getting rid of things that are damaged beyond repair or don't fit anymore.
Then there are a few items you have to put on and model in front of your full length mirror, really examining the piece.
Does the color flatter you? Does the fit accentuate you strengths? Do you feel really good in it? Even though I don't especially look forward to these sessions I always love the result.
For the next few months, choosing clothes becomes easier and I find that I look and feel better; once I get rid of all the clothes that don't work for me, I actually wear the ones that I look good in! So why do I care about the undertaking of your closet cleaning, or mine for that matter? To show you how your mind is a little like your closet.
Sometimes the contents - your thoughts - need to be critically examined in order for you to feel better again.
Aha! See...
you knew I was going somewhere useful with this.
Your mind is working constantly, and out of the almost 60,000 you have per day (that's roughly 3600 per hour), only about 15% of those thoughts you even remember or are conscious of! This means that most of the day your thoughts go unchecked, unnoticed, and uncared for, and they are allowed free reign in your mind.
And why does this matter? Because if you're thinking subconscious thoughts that are negative, but you don't even know you're thinking them, then, "Houston, we have a problem!" Many times my clients will tell me they are doing something that they don't want to do like overeat, overwork, or yell at their kids.
They also tell me they feel things they don't want to feel - angry, sad, anxious, etc.
In fact, there isn't a single problem someone brings to me that ISN'T related to feeling something negative or doing something negative.
That's all problems are, when you think about it.
You see, these clients are unaware of negative thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and opinions which are causing negative feelings thereby causing negative actions.
(Remember: thoughts=emotions=actions) The key to breaking this pattern is to "clean out your mind" so to speak.
Basically you need to slow things down a bit, so you can become aware of the thoughts that are starting this unwanted chain reaction.
Since this is such an integral part of making changes, I've outlined below a quick and easy three-step method for stopping unhealthy thoughts.
I call this the SBR Method.
To help illustrate this process, I want you to meet Mary.
Mary was feeling high levels of frustration because she couldn't seem to leave her office on time.
This habit was putting a strain on her marriage and home life.
Step One: STOP The first thing Mary needed to do was stop the onslaught of noise in her mind.
She was so distraught that this was difficult for her to do.
Mary had so many thoughts running through her head such as: "I don't know why I do this.
I wish I could just leave on time.
I don't know why I feel like I need to stay late.
I really don't know why I do this.
" This step requires that you draw your attention away from the constant mind chatter.
Instead of focusing on these running thoughts, focus on breathing.
Step Two: BREATHE Once you've stopped paying attention to mind chatter and are calm, I want you to do two things.
One, breathe; this will relax you.
As you're breathing, allow thoughts and feelings about the problem to surface.
Lean into these thoughts; don't push them away.
In Mary's case, when she stopped her mind chatter and started calming down, she said that she felt guilty about leaving the office on time.
She went on to say that she felt as if she wouldn't be doing her job well if she left work before completing the day's tasks.
It would make her feel unsuccessful, bad at her job.
And then we realized that the underlying emotion was really fear...
fear of losing her job because of a poor work performance.
Mary can only recognize what her emotion is (fear and guilt) when she is able to stop the mind chatter and listen to her mind.
Step Three: REFOCUS Once you uncover the subconscious thoughts surrounding your negative emotion, you are then able to choose the rational, positive thoughts that serve you well instead of hindering your performance.
You need to make sure that the thoughts you choose are going to lead to positive emotions and therefore positive actions.
Mary needed to cleanse herself of the thoughts that were keeping her stuck in a negative habit.
She chose new thoughts that would allow her to leave work on time as well as keeping her mind settled about her work performance.
She replaced many of her thoughts with these two statements: Productive, quality work time is more important than long hours.
A balanced life will allow me to make better decisions and to be more efficient at work.
It isn't easy being a master of your thoughts, but it is possible.
You have to remember that however unruly your thoughts are, you are the one in control.
Like cleaning out your closet, cleaning out your mind leads to good feelings.
It is in your power to rid your mind of negative thoughts and fill your mind with thoughts that help you live a stronger life.
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