Monday, October 17, 2011

7 Tips for Surviving the Zen Challenge of No Negative Thinking

Shutting off negative talk can be pretty difficult. See Take the Zen Challenge. Viewing it as a simple switch might be a little too simplistic for many of us. Sometimes we just need the tools. So, here are a few to help you keep to the challenge.

1. Tell somebody
If you tell people, not everyone, just your nearest and dearest, you are putting your intentions out in the open. Hey, if you announce to your best friend that you are going to reduce your caloric intake for the next week, it will be a lot harder to gobble up a giant frozen latte in front of her. Putting it out there increases the chances you and your commitment will stick. And makes you more likely to succeed.

2. Be gentle and forgiving
Of yourself. At first, unless you are a saint, you will catch yourself saying negative things. If you are like me, you will catch yourself A LOT. Like I said, be gentle and forgiving. Just remind yourself what you are doing and STOP what you are saying. No judgment, no criticism. Just move forward.

3. Try deep breathing
Take some deep breaths when you feel it coming on. Breathe in, hold it for 3-5 seconds and then blow it out. This will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, your calm down mechanism, and will help pull you away from the tasty little appeal of the negative.

4. Watch for your Triggers
What sets you off? ? Slow pokes on the highway? Know your triggers so you can get through without the knee jerk reaction. When I KNOW a particular PERSON or SITUATION is a stressor for me, I can prepare myself to RESPOND instead of REACT.

5. Isolate yourself
No, I don’t mean go live on the mountain top. But if you can, isolate yourself from the triggers that “get your goat.” If long lines drive you nuts, go to the post office at weird times, or order what you need online. Try, WHEN IT IS POSSIBLE, to isolate yourself from the things that drive you batty. No need to run around torturing yourself with unnecessary conflict.

6. Walk away
What to do when you are stuck with people that trigger you? Maybe you tend to get caught up in a with them? Why not walk away? Say you always get into a hot and heavy debate over politics with your brother-in-law. Why not walk away? When he baits you, (and he may be only doing this because it’s what the two of you do,) smile and say “let’s just agree to disagree, Bob.” If he can’t let go, just get out. Smile and make your way over to the to the cheese tray, hit up one of the nieces for a chat or offer to help in the kitchen. Eventually he will get the idea that your dance together has a few new moves.

7. Escape
When you are stuck in that line at the post office and normally you would be pacing and looking for allies to criticize the ineffectualness of the old USPS, try escaping to someplace special instead. No, I don’t mean catching the first flight to the Caribbean. I mean using your mind. Head out to your favorite vacation spot, imagine something fun you have coming up on the calendar, even focus on someone you love. Get those feel good chemicals coursing through your veins instead of the immunity compromising you need to rally if you are going on a bash the post office rant.

I will tell you this; practicing letting go of and word DOES free the mind for more
, motivation and success. At first, it is NOT easy. But, it really changes everything. And not just for one week. It can change your way of viewing the world and how you react to it forever. And that is pretty cool.

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