When we are faced with too much uncertainty our emotions can begin to build up. Those emotions, whatever they are, take up so much space in our minds that it can be difficult to focus on anything else. Our stress levels rise, and negative thoughts and emotions can become harmful.
What if I told you that those negative thoughts and emotions are a matter of perspective, and perspective is as easy to change as your position? Wherever you are right now, look in front of you. Notice what you see and how it looks from where you’re sitting. Good. Now change your position, either sit down or stand up, and notice how your view changes from this new perspective. Perhaps you can see more or less than you did before. Some things may look smaller or larger. Some things may be hidden from your view altogether. How you see things changes when you shift your perspective.
You can accomplish the same thing by shifting your perspective of your thoughts and emotions. Let’s say there’s a newspaper on the table across the room from us. We can see the headline. We can tell if a section is missing, and we can see if it’s a full-size Sunday paper or a smaller edition. However, if that newspaper was sitting on your head you’d be able to feel it, but not see it in its entirety. It’s just too close. In order to see it clearly and really understand what it is, you need to change your perspective.
When we look at something across the room there is space between us and the object, so it’s easy to see it from a number of different perspectives simultaneously. Our thoughts and feelings are often right on top of us though. So we need to put some space between us and those emotions. You can use that new perspective to take the power and influence out of a negative thought or emotion.
Slow It Down
You can move a negative thought or emotion away from you by slowing it down. You know those thoughts that run through your mind, those negative thoughts that hold you back, make you feel stressed or anxious, or put you down. When you hear that voice in your mind, maybe it is a loud stern voice, or snarky, or mean.
Use this technique to practice changing that negative voice of those self-defeating thoughts, and put some space between you and that negative thought.
Pick one of those thoughts or phrases, and either out loud or in your mind say your negative phrase. Hear it the way you would normally hear it and notice how that feels.
Good. Now, repeat that negative phrase, but this time, say it very softly and very slowly. Notice the difference in how it makes you feel? Good. Now say it to yourself in the normal way again, and then one more time very slow and very quiet.
Now say it again even slower. Keep repeating that phrase slower and slower until it is so slow that it almost doesn’t make sense. Perfect!
Now, if this thought returns, your experience of this thought will be different than it was in the past. You’ve created some space between yourself and the thought, and changed your perspective.
Change the Tone
If there are thoughts or memories that you find troubling, you can change your perspective of them by changing their context.
Choose one of those thoughts or memories, and imagine it playing through your mind like a video clip. Watch it from beginning to end in your mind, and pause it at the very end. Perfect. Now, rewind that clip all the way to the beginning, and take out all the color and all the sound. Now watch it again, black and white with no sound, and notice what’s different.
Good. Now, rewind it back to the beginning again. Play it through again, and this time, add in a soundtrack, like that circus theme or the soundtrack from your favorite cartoon. Change the voices so that they’re high and squeaky or goofy. Bring back all the color, and watch it again until the end. You can keep adjusting it until you get it just right.
By the time you’re done it might be hard not to laugh at that thought now! You’ve changed the way you see that thought or memory, and in doing so, you’ve changed your response to them.
Your thoughts are just thoughts. You can change their impact on you and the way they make you feel by changing your perspective. Begin to practice these techniques on your own and experience the positive changes you can incorporate into your life.∎
Karen Gray is a Certified Hypnotist, Registered Nurse, and the Director of Green Mountain Hypnosis. For more information on how you can use hypnosis to change your life, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (802) 566-0464.