Consciously Letting Go Of Thoughts
Written by Step Above Stigma's Events Director, Melissa Lo
Often, our mind can be in a rut with thoughts circling back to us non-stop. It can be really hard to 1, notice negative thought patterns, and 2 put a stop to them. However, it is very empowering to know that we do have control of our thoughts, and we get to decide which thoughts grow and which thoughts we let go of. Personally, I struggle with ruminating on negative thoughts because I have an urge to understand things, but it often leaves me feeling drained. It is draining to feed into thoughts that do not lead to growth. It is draining to feed into thoughts that circle back around. But with practice, and time, you can learn to consciously choose your thoughts. There is a fine line between healthy thinking and ruminating – the first step is being able to distinguish between the two. Reflecting is an important part of growth, it allows you to recognize your strengths, and to recognize areas you can work on. You know you are engaging in healthy thinking when you feel like it is leading to new insights and new perspectives – it just feels right. On the flip side, ruminating often involves going over the same thought over and over without it leading anywhere. It drains you rather than empowers you. Once you notice these thought patterns it will become easier to differentiate which thoughts are good for and which thoughts are bad for you. From there, you can consciously decide to invest in certain thoughts. Every thought that pops into your head doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Sometimes thoughts will just pass by, it’s the one’s we cling onto that we allow to strengthen. Being able to tell ourselves that certain thoughts are not worth investing in will take time, but it is worth it! You truly get to choose which thoughts to follow, and which thoughts to let pass. I once heard a meditation that gave a great analogy and was talking about growth mindset. A growth mindset is recognizing that we as humans are constantly growing. We grow from our experiences, and we grow from our mistakes. We are not restricted to be anything other than who we wish to be. In this meditation, they paralleled our thoughts to a garden. Sometimes there are weeds that we must tend to (our negative thoughts). They won’t go away right away, but with time there will be less. If you keep watering the weeds however, they will come back time and time again. But once you start planting the right seeds, they will grow, and you will see more of what you want in your garden in the future. So, you get to choose, what do you want to see in your garden?
Read our blog posts about personal experiences and stories with regards to mental health. Posts written by our team or those passionate about mental health.