Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Ever notice how you could be having perfectly good day- and then without recognising it you're playing things over in your mind- and then you become agitated, angry, sad etc?
Typical examples are the day after a nerve-wrecking interview, after an argument or even after a conversation with someone. You begin thinking back on it and then all of these negative thoughts rush in and before you know it- your whole mood has changed!
There has been a whole conversation inside of your mind- and it turned into a monster!
Our mind doesn't know the difference between reality and a memory when we have these thoughts - so it experiences both as real and then our mood shifts to match!
Now first I have to say - there is a perfectly good reason for that - survival!!! Our brain is hard wired to keep us safe so will naturally be waiting to see if we need to freeze, fly or fight from threats - it has no way of knowing that we aren't actually experiencing the feeling - it just responds! So every time you have these 'Monster' thoughts - your brain and body decide its time to feel stress and to decide what to do about this 'Monster' - should we keep still, run for our lives or kill it?!
That's great if we are actually in danger - a lot less helpful when we get stuck replaying a conversation or situation- wishing we had said or done something differently though.
And that my friend - is the real culprit!! the decision that we didn't do what we should have:
Somehow we get stuck comparing what we actually did to what we should have done -and wind ourselves up no end.
Worse we not only do that - we might then also compare our actions to that of someone else, talk to someone else about it and then then feel even worse.
The other thing that robs us of our happiness consistently is when we compare others!
Comparing one friend, manager, neighbour (anyone) to another and then we start looking for and adding to a never-ending list of all of the things wrong with that person.
Again, by the time we're finished- we end up not even wanting to interact with them.
In either case - we are robbing ourselves!! Comparing ourselves - is just telling ourselves that we are not as good as the next person.
By comparing others- we are deciding that someone else is not as good!
In reality - we are all capable of being as 'good' or 'bad' as one another - and whichever one we focus on and feed- that will be the one that grows - so why not feed happy - with thoughts about what is good about ourselves and others - and grow something rather than take away?
Challenge yourself- every time you compare yourself - write down 5 good things about you and if you compare someone else do the same for them. If you're on the go - just think the 5 things instead (and no cheating!! they have to be 5 unrelated things!)
You know what I mean- it will start of with something as simple as - "Oh I should have
Similarly to comparing - complaining breeds more misery and negativity. The more we do it the more we receive negativity.
When have you ever felt better about yourself because you made someone else feel worse?
- Never right?
Yet we find ourselves complaining about one thing and then there is nowhere else for this to go but add to it and then again we shift our whole mood.
Complaining not only makes us feel worse- its one of the key reasons people avoid you - the more you complain - the less people want to interact with you too.
You know the type- you ask them how they are and they proceed to tell you all of the things wrong with them and the world - and you end up wishing you never asked! Then you complain about them - and like flu - you're contaminated with the complaining bug!
This horrible little bug isn't satisfied with being contagious- it affects the brain too- that part that helps us reason is affected by the stress released by the feelings we get when we complain. Making it so that you lose sense of reason and become more miserable and complain more. If that wasn't bad enough - it also affects our immunity and makes us more likely to get sick too!
Complaining is fed by feelings of sadness, insecurity etc and so its really important to tend to the reasons why and spend less time focused on what 'bad' things are going on around us - we are all guilty of it- but also also guilty of its spread.
Complaining is never trying to problem-solve - instead sits in its own misery.
Challenge yourself with this:
Imagine complaining as a cold.
If you complain - you sneeze and spread the germ to others - and keeping company with someone who complains will give you the flu! - just like a cold - use the phrase - "catch it, bin it, kill it!
Catch the thought, replace it with something you love, stop it in its tracks!
We never know if someone else's cold is the common cold, flu or pneumonia so we equally need to be mindful - they may have something much deeper going on - so its important to just step back and see- before we wade in with both feet.
Someone complaining to us or even about us can often make us respond negatively- be we have full control over how we respond.
The easiest way is to walk away freely - rather than getting caught up in more negativity (physically and emotionally).
No one is perfect - we can only try.
Like with anything -the more practice we have the better we become.
Practice keeping your mind clear of these 2 toxic C's!
Play with it - try the challenges for 1 morning until lunch time, then another day until afternoon, 1 whole day and keep extending the time.
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