Take a closer look at our more-usual-than-not not-so-nice way of thinking…
This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with The Chalkboard Mag…
A negative mindset can creep in slowly with a bad day (or year!) and become a toxic habit that affects the way we feel and make decisions. Kelsey J. Patel, a leading reiki expert, life coach and meditation teacher, is helping us take a clearer look at our not so nice way of thinking to discover why we’re stuck and how to make a meaningful shift.
Many times, people’s negativity comes from one small thought or occurrence and it takes them into a deep, winding spiral. Imagine your mind is like the ocean: the deeper you get into the negative thinking patterns, the darker it gets. There is no need to drown yourself in the negativity, but you do need to explore it. Nine out of ten times, the negativity is much deeper rooted than people allow themselves to see or feel. The main problem is that people don’t spend time or give themselves space to look at what’s really there.
GET TO “KNOW THYSELF” – LIKE, IMMEDIATELY:
The practice: The first exercise is to get to “know thyself”. Get a piece of paper and a pen and start writing:
Where do I feel negativity in my life?
Is this negativity coming from me and my insecurities, or do I believe someone else is making me feel negative?
How do I actually want to feel?
Why don’t I allow those feelings to happen?
What is stopping me from allowing myself to feel positivity?
Why do I feel comfortable in this negativity?
What do I need to be happy?
What is something I can do today to help bring positivity into my mind and my life?
STARVE THE EGO:
Ahh, the busy mind. The mind loves to control us and be in the driver’s seat. It will do anything to keep us from quieting down, even if it brings us negativity. The ego is a great part of the human experience and we do need it, but we also need to be aware of it. If you’re a busy working professional and have ever tried meditation, you know how hard it is to quiet the mind (aka the ego). It is always gabbing in our ears, telling us what we ‘should’ do next, what we ‘should’ eat, who is being mean or rude to us, what we are ‘supposed’ to do every day. Starting a routine meditation practice is the best way, in my opinion, to begin quieting the mind.
The practice: To begin simple meditation practice, set your timer for ten minutes. Sit comfortably or lie down. Take 3-4 deep breaths and allow yourself to simply be. If you have an overactive mind, no problem. You can play a simple guided meditation or listen to soft, relaxing music so your mind has something to follow. I send out a simple ten-minute guided meditation every month to my clients and they use it for the entire month as their practice. The more you try to overthink it or believe you have to do it ‘right’ in order to receive the benefits of meditation, the more you are feeling the ego trying to avoid stillness.
When was the last time you gave yourself a mental break? There is so much pressure out there to be perfect and aligned with life that it is overwhelming for all of us at different times. So, rather than feeling negative and being mean to the negativity in your mind and feeling even worse about yourself, practice compassion with this exercise.
The practice: Place your hands over your heart. Feel yourself breathe and slowly allow your breath to drop into your heart space. Imagine all of the thoughts in your mind and allow them to come into the heart. Take some very deep, slow breaths and feel love from your hands going into your heart. Give yourself a few moments to feel compassion for yourself. Visualize your life and all of the things you’ve already accomplished, even the things that you don’t believe are worthy of recognizing. Feel how much you matter, just because you are here and you exist in the world. Without judgment or belittling yourself, simply feel love and compassion for yourself and all of your life experiences.
RELEASE THE NEGATIVITY:
Sometimes the mind is just too strong. Here are two additional techniques to help you move the energy and get it out of your own head:
Emotional freedom technique (EFT or tapping). This is a great way to start moving some of the negative thoughts around, especially if you feel like you can’t pinpoint where they start or what they’re really about. There are several tutorials available online and a short video on my website on how to start. Essentially, you begin tapping the side of your right hand with your left fingers, and repeat the sentence, “Even though, I feel all of this negativity, and I don’t know where it’s coming from, I deeply and profoundly love and accept (you can also insert the word trust here) myself.” Do this three times, then begin tapping in a variety of different points on the body and repeat, “I feel all of this negativity.” Eventually the body will open up and a sense of relief will enter the mind.
Full-moon release. Take a piece of paper during the next full moon and write down all of the negativity you want to release. Really feel yourself opening to release all of those negativities, different things, people, projects, thoughts, etc. Allow yourself to connect and go as deep as you’d like with what you want to release. Then, take the piece of paper and either burn it outside under the moon or sleep with it under your bed or pillow and shred it the next day to release the energy.
DAILY MANTRA/REIKI PRECEPTS:
In the practice of reiki, there is something we use called the reiki precepts. These are everyday mantras to practice calling in that which you are ready to receive and be.
The practice: When you wake up in the morning, before even getting out of bed, place your hands on your heart and try saying some of the mantras below – pick the ones that speak to you. You can also add your own words to make them more relevant to what you feel and need every day, depending on what’s going on that particular day. I do recommend picking a couple that you always say so you can really bring those elements into your life. Say and speak this mantra to yourself and, if needed, say it several times throughout the day to allow your mind to exercise these thoughts. Visualize them as seeds being planted in your mind. Eventually, they are grown and you are living them without even needing to focus on them.
Just for today, I am open to the positivity of my life.
Just for today, I am ease and grace.
Just for today, I am kind and compassionate to myself.
Just for today, I release my negativity.
Just for today, I trust and let go.
Just for today, I am open to receive.
The power of this word is incredible. If there are times where you just can’t shake it or move the negativity out of your mind, try using om.
The practice: Sitting in a quiet space (even the car is a perfect place, and I do it often between meetings and appointments), begin saying or singing this word aloud. Do this for several minutes and you will feel clarity, a release of energy, a shift in your mind and an opening of energy. You can even set a timer for three minutes and simply practice saying the word until the time is up. If you’re in an office space or can’t say this word aloud, no problem. Internalize it. Close your eyes and feel the word being sung throughout your mind and body. Again, three minutes is recommended.