Obsessive thoughts can be so intrusive and so debilitating. Today, you’re going to learn the technique for sending your obsessive thoughts backstage.
Hi, I’m Dr. Nicole Cain and I am here to help anybody who’s dealing with anxiety turn the page and write a new story where anxiety isn’t the central focus. If you would like to get your life back, if you want something other than the pill for an ill model, you’re in the right place.
So let’s talk about sending obsessive thoughts backstage. An obsessive thought is a thought that is exactly how it sounds. It’s obsessive, it’s intrusive, and it’s just rolling around in your brain. This can be a worry, it can be a repetitive thought that’s just out of the blue or it can even be an earworm. An earworm is an obsessive or repetitive song that keeps playing in your head. Have you ever had that happen? When I’m in a high-stress situation and I’m trying to go to sleep, either my brain will get stuck on some sort of a phrase or a word or even a song, and it can make it really hard to just focus on resting and going to sleep.
There’s a technique that I developed called the backstage technique for obsessive thoughts. And so in order to do this technique, I want you to practice something with me, I want you to think a thought. For practice, I’m going to think the thought – “I’ve got it.” I want you to imagine where that thought is in your brain. And you might want to close your eyes to practice this because it’s easier to focus on in your brain. We’re actually going to practice relocating.
I want you to imagine, “I’ve got this” and I want you to think the thought and notice the thought in the front of your head, the forehead that thought you can place it there. Maybe even imagine that there’s somebody right in front of your forehead who’s saying it to you,
“I’ve got this.”
“I’ve got this.”
Notice the placement of that, I want you to notice that you can feel it really close to your head, “I’ve got this“. Notice how it can feel a little bit louder. And then, I want you to actually mindfully push that “I’ve got this” a little bit farther from your head. Notice how it might sound different, how the voice in the head, your mental voice, might sound a little bit farther. “I’ve got this.”
Now I want you to practice shifting it. Imagine shifting it to your right side. And notice, what does it sound like if somebody on your right is saying “I’ve got this“. You’re having this thought you’re thinking it, “I’ve got this“. And you’re noticing it as though there’s somebody speaking to the right side of you, they’re on your right side, they’re speaking, it’s in the right part of your mind, “I’ve got this“.
And then I want you to notice going to the other side. Notice what it feels like, how it’s different, “I’ve got this“. When I think it, I almost noticed a sensation, maybe an energy on the side of my head.
The next thing I want you to do is, I want you to send it backstage. You’ve practiced bringing it close, you’ve practiced pushing it away, you went to one side, and then you went to the other side. So we know that you can move the thought, right? I want you to send it backstage, I want you to actually mindfully push that thought away, “I’ve got this” and put it in the back. That’s where you’re going to keep the thoughts.
One important thing with obsessive thoughts, is that your brain is going to think, the brain loves to think, that’s the brain’s zone of genius is, is it just thinks it analyzes and we want to acknowledge it, and then we want to relocate it. We don’t want it to be in front of you and intrusive and irritating. Practicing and learning how to position your thoughts is going to help you be able to on command, send that thought backstage so that as it’s back there doing its thing, it’s thinking it’s talking, and you’re able to ignore it. It’s kind of like if you have this pestering little person that’s sitting next to you and you need to focus on the task at hand, you’d just tune them out. Imagine them going backstage, they can deliver their lines, but they’re behind the curtain. They’re backstage so that you can be fully present so that you can be on center stage so that you can be the star of your show so that you can write your story the way you want it.
We talked about how to send obsessive thoughts backstage, and we’re doing that by doing the relocation of the thoughts. Every day, I want you to practice, pick something that you want to think about and I want you to actively think it. I want you to place it close. Notice how you can push it far away, side to side, and then send it backstage.
Sometimes those sneaky little actors are going to want to come from backstage and get right back on center stage and that’s because we have well-paved highways going to right in front of us, we have well-established actors who’ve been playing their roles, writing their stories, doing their bit parts, all the zest of somebody who’s a histrionic stage hog. We have to start teaching them that they belong backstage. We have to carve out the brain chemistry to do that. We’re first changing the software, which is how you’re thinking about it and where you’re putting it. And then eventually, the hardware of your brain, this stage of your life, will start to change.
Practice mindfully working on that. I’m so excited to hear how this works for you. Because if you’re anything like me, and obsessive thoughts are trying to run the show, and they’re getting in the way, and you can’t even see the main actors, you’ve got to practice loves, send them far to the side, send them backstage. The more that you practice acknowledging they’re going to do their thing and ignoring them, the less power they’re going to have over your life.
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