We all have them – those subtle whisper thoughts that constantly stream through our awareness. Many come and go quickly, but if a downer thought snags our attention and emotion, look out. It can quickly take us on an energy-draining ride that’s triggered by stress from self-judgment, blame and anxiety. Learn how you can better manage these whispers.
Downer thoughts can crash the effectiveness of a whole day or longer, once they expand into anger, harsh judgments, or hurt feelings and guilt for feeling that way. Even constructive thought loops can become hyperactive at a time when our focus in the moment needs to be on sensitive projects or issues. These unintended distractions can often result in mistakes and re-do’s along with the anxiety and worry that this can trigger.
Renewing Heart Qualities Can Offset Stress
On the positive side, many of our whisper thoughts and feelings renew us and support our best. We can benefit by noticing the difference between uplifting thoughts and feelings and those that produce worry, anxiety and low self-security. Practicing mindful observation gives us the chance to consciously reset lower thoughts and feelings with regenerative ones, such as kindness, gratitude, compassion, helping others, etc. These renewing heart qualities have been shown to offset stress accumulation from thought loops and feelings that strain our ability to reason and make comfortable choices.
Here are a few obvious trigger points that can spark worry from stressing thought loops: criticisms of self and others; a growing list of critical daily “reminders” to attend; looping worries about safety, finances, health issues, relationship complexities, political uncertainty, and more. These are normal challenges in any time period but seem much more pressing in today’s emotional climate.
Most all of us experience some of these challenges while learning to create a balanced flow in our mental and emotional nature. We don’t have to judge ourselves for this. Balancing and re-programing our self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings is a normal growth process in learning to be responsibility for our energy. With practice, our thoughts and feelings come under our management rather than randomly invading our immediate focus and care on what we need to be doing.
Practice Replacing Worry and Fear with the attitude of Managed Concern
Many people are finding it helpful to practice shifting their feelings of worry and fear into the attitude of managed concern. Managed concern is an emotionally balanced state that connects us with a clearer assessment of situations and a more grounded reasoning capacity.
Worry and fear tend to overpower our access to effective choices and decisions. Ongoing worry especially dims our heart’s intuitive suggestions, which can be critical at times. Excessive worry is one of the stealthiest ways we sabotage our well-being, and then worry more because we can’t figure out what caused the problem. We can take charge of this once our heart’s commitment supports our mind’s intention.
Try practicing this: Try to identify worries that stir fear and anxiety, then experiment with shifting them into the attitude of managed concern (intelligent concern) – which brings clearer reasoning and solutions without the stress package. The attitude of experimenting is a lighter approach which results in less self-judgment of our performance.
Imagine a child coming to you with fear and anxiety because he can’t find his toy. You would probably coach him to calm down, get still, and let’s figure out the best way to handle this. What you did was help him shift his fear and anxiety into the calm attitude of managed concern. We can to do that for ourselves. It’s practical make-sense, coming straight from our heart’s intuitive intelligence.
Practice first with smaller issues to build confidence. Review the benefits of managed concern compared to the energy drain from excessive worry, etc. Reviewing this can add the power of practicality to your commitments. Soon it will become an automatic reflex to calm yourself into the attitude of managed concern when looping thoughts and feelings start to take over.
Practicing managed concern along with engaging in renewing heart qualities, such as gratitude, patience and kindness can be helpful for balancing our energy expenditures. We can be under pressure at times, but often life’s pressures awaken our innate power to take charge of how we feel and respond to situations. This available power resides within our heart’s natural intuitive intelligence. It’s up to each of us.