When you find yourself worrying, ask, “Is there something I can do? If not, I toss it.” Examples of actions one can take include avoiding white flour and sugar and exercising if I’m worried about diabetes and heart disease; avoiding criticizing, hitting and screaming if I’m worried about a child’s mental health; following safety precautions if worried about being in a car accident.
As you learn to avoid hoarding all the junk mail that come into your brain’s in-box, you will gain a sense of detachment from your overly active amygdala and begin to feel calmer. As you go through the day, be proud of your ability to distinguish between truly important and necessary information and junk thoughts. A good therapist will help you identify toxic beliefs and replace them with “secure thoughts.” At first, this might be difficult, as you may be used to thinking, “My thoughts are absolute truths which I must accept.”
Keep a list of your beliefs and figure out which ones you truly want to keep. The next step is to think “SECURE THOUGHTS.” For example:
* When you contemplate the future remind yourself, “Hashem will only give me what I need for my tikkun and whatever he sends me is out of love and is meant to help me discover my inner strengths.” When you contemplate the past, tell yourself, “I trust that the events in my life and the mistakes I made were educational and taught me what not to do in the future. The pain humbled me, gave me strength and made me more aware and sensitive.”
* Hashem created a very tentative and insecure physical world for a reason- to force me to turn to Him and overcome my addictions, obsessions and illusions.
* My self-esteem is not a balloon which others can inflate with praise or deflate with their critical words or eyes. I can create a strong sense of self-worth that is maintained no matter where I am or who I am with. As a child, I didn’t know how to think, but now I am a grown-up; I can choose what to think, and so can you.
Dr. Adahan can be reached at 718-705-8404 or firstname.lastname@example.org