Stop the Three Sources of Massive Tension and Pain with This strategy
Let me begin with the story of Johnny.
Johnny is a student who is doing poorly in math. When asked why his grades are so bad in math, he blames the teacher. He says the problem is Mrs. Hardmath. No one ever gets a good grade from Mrs. Hardmath.
Or he complains about the class schedule. He says that he is not a morning person and the class is at 8 AM. Or he brings the excuse that he just does not have a math brain. He simply cannot understand math
Certainly, he can blame, complain, and bring excuses, however, would any of these helps him get a good grade in math and excel in life? The answer is a definite no! Instead, if he stops wasting his mental and emotional energies and focus on discovering how to get a good grade in math, he is much more likely to succeed.
As Jack Canfield explains in The Success Principles, as long as we blame, complain, and/or bring excuses we cannot expect our lives to move forward or that we find a solution to our challenging situations. We will not experience true joy and happiness until we do so.
In fact, this negative mental habit can create a massive amount of sadness, depression, and tension that can lead to TMS. Blaming, complaining, and bringing excuses cultivates a victim mindset. A mindset that is often accompanied by a poor-me and why-me attitude. An attitude that refuses to face the reality and accepts life’s challenges. An attitude that impedes the search for solutions and answers.
So it is extremely important that we develop the ability to avoid blaming others, avoid complaining, and avoid brining excuses as we move through life so that we can live a life of achievement, contentment and be truly fulfilled. This is how most high achievers and successful people live. This is how you live like a victor, instead of a victim!
Here is a good example of a person who avoided the victim mindset. She was born to a fifteen-year-old unwed mother. For the first six years of her life, she was raised by her poor grandmother who clothes for her from potato sacks. At age six she went to live with her mother in the housing projects where she was sexually abused and ended up pregnant at fourteen. She gave birth to a stillborn baby boy.
Such a sad start for a little girl!
It may be hard to believe that this was how Oprah’s life started. Yet, she decided not to blame her childhood, complain about it, or use it as an excuse and you can see what a happy productive life she is living. You too can expect great results doing the simple act of not blaming, not complaining, and not bringing excuses.
Simple, isn’t it? But not necessarily easy, especially if that is an ingrained mental habit. I will, however, show you a simple way that you can make achieving it easy.
Some may ask, “Can you ever blame anyone?”
Needless to say, the driver who ran the red light and hit your car is 100% responsible for the accident and is fully to blame for it, but how you react to the situation determines the quality of your life.
You see, there are people who have fame and fortune yet are miserable and resort to drugs, alcohol, gambling, junk food, and other destructive behaviors to feel good. The quality of our lives is really determined by the quality of our emotions. And this strategy can help you master your emotions to such a great extent that you can become truly happy no matter what happens.
Generally, people who blame, complain, and bring excuses ask the following questions when facing a problem:
Why does this always happen to me?
Why does everyone hate me?
Why does God do this to me?
Why is everyone against me?
Why my life is such a mess?
Or do a lot of if-ing
If that had not happened, this would not have!
If I did not have such a bad childhood
If I only had more money
If I had a better education
If I only had a different spouse
If I was smarter
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with asking why something happened so that we can understand the cause and avoid it in the future. However, whining (or should I say why-ning) does not help you move forward. You cannot enjoy true happiness if you are constantly asking the above questions.
Instead, you can empower yourself if you ask questions that begin with how or what, such as
What can I learn from this situation?
How am I allowing this to happen?
How can I have fun with this?
What am I doing that is working?
What am I doing that is not working?
What do I need to do more of?
What do I need to do less of?
How can I get the result I want?
What can I do to improve this situation?
Now take a moment and choose one or two empowering questions to ask when you face a difficult situation. My favorite one is “What can I learn from this situation and help others with it?” Asking this question is what has led me to teach, coach, and write.
The One-Two Punch
When you combine getting excited in the face of challenges and following it up with asking a how or what question, it acts as a one-two punch to knock out anxiety, depression, pessimism, stress, and tension so that you can conquer TMS.
Time for Action
When facing a challenging situation apply the strategy in Chapter One and create a lot of excitement, enthusiasm and energy.
Then ask your empowering question
Now imagine a daily stressful situation you face and repeat step 1-2 as many times as possible to feel positive and excited about it
“Thank you again for your help. I decided to stop asking why questions in my marriage and ask how and what questions. I started asking myself, “What am I doing that’s hurting this relationship?” and “What have I done in the past that has helped?” Then I wrote down the answers to these questions and every day did less of what hurt and more of what helped the relationship. It took a few weeks but it was worth the effort. We are so much happier now.”
Additional resource: Go to fredamir.com/podcasts and listen to The Three Sources of Massive Tension and Pain.
Stop Negative Thoughts in One Easy Step
Oh! those ANTs. Yes, ANTs. Those annoying negative thoughts (ANTs) as neurologist Daniel Amen, MD, calls them.
Has this ever happened to you: You are sitting down, relaxed, enjoying a nice meal, then suddenly a negative thought pops into your head, which leads to other negative thoughts, and another, and another, and eventually, ruins your meal?
In this chapter, I will show you how to take control of those ANTs so that they do not ruin a nice meal, a wonderful vacation, or your relationships.
Now take a moment, close your eyes, and think about your favorite dessert. It could be a piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream. After a few moments, you may notice an increase in saliva production in your mouth.
All you did was to think about something delicious. There was no chocolate or ice cream in your mouth. It was simply a thought and that led to a physiological change. Simply thinking about something delicious can make our mouth water.
Now imagine what happens when you think about a negative incident over and over again, whether it was a recent one or one from many years ago. That thought also leads to certain physiological changes, which could include a reduction of blood flow to your muscles and nerves that could lead to muscle tension, pain, and numbness.
Moreover, your body and brain may get flooded with stress hormones, which can affect your mood, your judgement, and your decisions negatively with undesirable consequences.
That’s why it is imperative to stop negative thoughts before they have a negative impact on your mind, body, and life.
The problem with allowing negative thoughts to continue is that one negative thought leads to another, and another, and another until it’s like opening a floodgate: your mind becomes flooded with negative thoughts. As your mind becomes flooded with negative thoughts, you may feel sad, anxious, depressed, hopeless, angry, frustrated, and experience other negative emotions.
What might have started as a minor stressful event, such as a traffic jam, can turn into a visit to one’s terrible childhood memories. Then your thoughts begin to control you, instead of you controlling them. You begin to feel like a victim and start why-ning and if-ing.
It does not have to happen this way. You can take control. What you must do is to stop those ANTs as soon as you notice one and close the floodgate immediately! Simply do not allow the negative pattern to continue. This strategy will help you get out of the habit of negative thinking and stop the tape that plays in your head over and over again.
How To Stop Those ANTs
It’s quite simple. Just like the first strategy it involves power pose, power image, and power words. That’s how you can effectively communicate with your subconscious mind and stop the habitual negative thoughts.
Choose a power pose that stops negative thoughts, such as showing the palm of your hand to a person or a car to stop, perhaps with a serious face.
Choose a power image that signifies stopping negative thoughts, such as closing a floodgate, a stop sign, or as one of my clients said, “Hitting those ANTs out of the ball park!”
Say these power words, “(Your name)! STOP it and move forward with your life! If you can yell it out or scream it out or say it to yourself with a serious tone.
(Your name)! Stop it and enjoy your meal.
(Your name)! Stop it and continue walking.
(Your name)! Stop it and write your next book.
(Your name)! Stop it and feel grateful
Why do you need to yell out your name? You see, negative thought patterns can take over unexpectedly and put you in a state of trance, so much so that you may not realize how far you have driven, what you were watching, or what your conversation was about. So, you need to jolt yourself out of that state and break the negative pattern. If you do it enough times, it will not return. In fact, I can honestly say, I have almost no negative thoughts and if any dares to show up I yell, “Fred! STOP it and move forward with your life!” By saying (or when possible yelling) my name I jolt myself out of the trance created by negative thoughts to stop them and redirect my mind to moving forward.
Time for Action
Get into your pose, imagine the stop sign or flood gate and say, “(Your name)! STOP it and move forward with your life!”
Do this ten times or as many times as it takes until the negative thought is gone. For the next few days, be on the alert for any negative thoughts and stop them as soon as you notice them.
I have had clients who have tried all kinds of therapies, like the Hollywood actor mentioned in the introduction, to stop negative thoughts and this technique did it for them.
“I was raised by a mother who found fault with everything I did. I was never good enough. When I had my own children, I made sure never to be critical toward them. However, I always saw myself in a negative light and kept thinking I was not a good mother. My need to be perfect as their mother was not allowing me to enjoy raising my children. Negative thoughts kept popping up in my head making me feel inadequate. When you taught me how to stop those ANTs I was not sure if it would work. But as I stopped them day after day, they became less and less. Learning how to stop them abruptly and quickly helped me relax and enjoy being a mother. Thank you, Fred.”
Additional resource: Go to fredamir.com/podcasts and listen to Stop Negative Thoughts in One Easy Step.