How to control negative thoughts during divorce/separation?

"She's such a Bi#%h", "I will never love again", "My life is ruined" – yep, I had all these thoughts and more during my separation. My negative thinking was rampant, entering my mind and starting to control my behaviour. I didn’t like it! I wanted to take control back!

Negative thoughts can be put into five general groups:

- Worries: "What if something wrong happens…?"

- Self-limiting beliefs: "I’m not good enough..."

- Judgments: "She's such a narcissist!"

- Expectations: “Should have’s” and “Must do’s”

- Thoughts that are based on emotions: “I’m sick and tired of this!”

Here's how to identify, deal with and control negative thinking:

1. Create your own gate keeper: This is an imaginary character you decide to make responsible for identifying and sorting thoughts who wish to enter your mind. It can be anything. It can be a bouncer, a warrior or Luke Skywalker.

2. Provide them with their mission/job description: “Your job is to mind the gate to my mind. No thought can enter before going through you first.”

3. Provide them with a set of rules: The gate keeper must first stop the negative thought. Imagine how they are saying: “STOP”. Then they must question the negative thought: “Who are you”? At this stage the gate keeper will decide which group the negative thought belongs to. Then they will proceed asking the thought: “What’s your business here?” The gate keeper will then say to the thought: “Your access is denied”, Or “you have no business here, move away please”.

This exercise isn’t bullet proof. At the beginning your gate keeper may suck at their new job. That’s ok. Give them some time. Some thoughts will be so canning they will find ways to get in, but this will get your gate keeper practicing. After a few weeks, they will get a lot better recognising and controlling thoughts.

This is an awareness exercise. It helps to gain awareness to different thoughts and thought groups, making taking control much easier. Ready to try it?

Let me know how you go.


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