The negative dialogue running on a perpetual newsreel in our mind has a lot to answer for. It is the fear and the doubt that undermines our efforts and prevents us from implementing positive change in our lives.
The scariest thing is, that this monster sabotaging our relationships and dragging us down, operates under the guise of our 'self', or our thoughts, and goes largely unchecked. In fact, we play host to the lying, manipulative, downright dangerous dictation in our heads; entertain it even.
These repetitive, toxic thought processes lead to a diminished enjoyment of being alive. There is never a justifiable reason to harbour these feelings; you won't make good on all of your perceived wrongs by beating yourself up with a vicious tirade of prolonged mental torture. Let it go.
Be bold and stand up to what is holding you back (namely your thoughts) and find ways of being braver in the coming year. Below are five techniques that will help.
The operative word here being 'practice'. Awareness is a choice. We choose to realise the universal truth that is present in the stillness all around. However, thoughts and the emotions we attach to them have a sticky quality and are not defeated by being exposed to the light of awareness just the once.
Sure, it serves to weaken the monster, but it still lives on, thriving in the dark, hidden belief structures that we are the substance of our thoughts. This is why building awareness is a daily practice. The more light we let into our minds in this way, the less power our thoughts have over us and more we are free to live fully.
Stop fueling fears
"Neurons that fire together wire together"; think about this next time your mind starts fixating on a fear and tries to somehow rationalise into not being. The energy created by your thoughts only serve to perpetuate whatever you are thinking about. The narrative is irrespective of this fact, so the only way to stop fueling your fears is to stop acknowledging them with your thoughts.
Your brain is only able to sustain its focus on one thought at a time, so try to simply reflect (with no additional dialogue) on what is happening right now. Even better, meditate and fully immerse yourself in the pursuit of freeing yourself from the shackles of your thoughts.
Activate small, positive changes
It's incredible how even the smallest tweaks to how we live can have a dramatic affect on other areas of our life. Just the simple act of cultivating feelings of gratitude when you first wake up and are psyching yourself to get out of bed has a domino affect on the rest of day.
Or simply changing how you react to a recurring situation with your partner can dramatically improve your relationship. Once you see how powerful small changes can be, then you can start to have fun with it and see how tiny revisions in all areas of your life pan out.
Find outlets for being brave
Bravery requires an outlet if it is to be realised. Find ways of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and embracing your fears. This will be different for everyone, however examples include physical challenges that put you to the test, attending a toastmasters event where you can face your fear of public speaking or even not wearing makeup for a day if this is something that frightens you.
What scare us varies from person to person, so pursue activities that force you to confront your personal fears, even the little ones and feel your bravery growing stronger by the day.
Lots of us are guilty of doing this. We allow overactive imaginations to draw catastrophic conclusions on an event that has not yet happened. This is not being a 'realist' or helpful in any way, shape or form.
Having a negative emotional reaction to an imagined future outcome is detrimental to your health. If you find your mind wondering down this rocky path, then use the illumination of awareness to shatter the illusion and focus your attention on what is happening in the present moment.