You Can Throw Away Anxietiesby Jeremy on 12/1/2012
It’s normal and healthy to be upset when painful things happen. But when painful thoughts stick around or stupid self-defeating thoughts start occurring, it would be useful to get rid of them.
It’s OK because there’s a trick for weakening those painful thoughts: toss ‘em in the trash. Literally write your thoughts on scraps of paper, crumple them up, and throw them in the garbage can.
It sounds silly, but according to a series of experiments conducted earlier this year, it seems to work. Results indicate that you can write down your thoughts and, depending on what you do with the paper, empower them or de-power them. Brains are weird like that.
So I tried
I tried this trick and liked the results. Last night I cut some index cards into quadrants and started recording my recurring anxious or painful thoughts. One by one, I crumpled them into little paper balls and tossed them into my wastepaper basket.
I wound up with more wastepaper than I expected. So many repetitions of the same general anxieties, in the trash where they belong. It felt oddly liberating.
It also seems you can also empower helpful thoughts by writing them down and carrying them with you. So I wrote down a few simple things I’d like to remember, like “It’s OK to make mistakes” and “I’m not alone.”
Since we can trick our brain so easily, I decided to give my notes the trappings of importance in case it helped them stick better.
I call them my Epistles to Self – my own teensy personal canon. Today I clipped the Epistles together and stashed ‘em in my pocket.
Maybe my brain will appreciate the extra touch.
If you’re bothered by aching thoughts, give it a try. Write them down and throw them away. Then write the thoughts you want to enforce and carry them with you. See for yourself whether it works.