Six Steps to Contain Your Thought Storms


I learned this practice at a training workshop in January 2014. I have found it immensely helpful personally and for my clients to settle worrisome thought patterns, yet deal with things that need addressing.

STEP 1. Prepare.

Notice your thoughts. Ask yourself, Would I like to be able to have choice about when they come up and when they can be set aside? Am I willing to invest short periods of time before I go to sleep, when I wake up and a few times throughout the day to instill a new, effective practice in my life?

It is helpful to say yes to these questions before taking the next step.

STEP 2. Think of a container.

If you have noticed how much your thoughts crowd in and you are willing to try something different with a small investment of time, then I ask you to think of a container, something that is real, but is out of your everyday attention. The container can be large or small and must have a method of closing.

Some ideas include a conference room with a door that can be shut, a safe, an attic with a latching door or a storage facility . Pick something that is relevant to you, but out of sight of daily awareness so that you are not continually reminded of what you are setting aside.

STEP 3. Imagine the container and let thoughts slip over to the container.

This is the part that takes some practice, but is also the fun part. In your mind select something that you wish to move over to your container. Or simply say to yourself let all the thoughts past, present and future that are not needed right now slide over, flow over or slip into your container. You might even thing of cradling the thought or feeling lovingly as you might a close friend, your child or partner and gently let it move over or be carried to the container and place it easily in it.

The key here is not to engage your thinking that says I’ll just put this over, shove it over or kick it over. While it is natural to want to get rid of troubling thoughts, this method simply of trying too hard aggravates them. The gentler imaginative process engages the creative right hemisphere that just lets it happen. Wait a little to see them easily move into the container. Some people visualize and see them moving over, while others feel it, sense it or get a sensation of relaxation or inner warmth as it slides over.

What is your experience?

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