[THREAD] Let’s talk about thoughts, specifically thoughts related to anxiety and depression, those that keep coming back and seem to exacerbate the intensity of our anxiety. One of the most common request I get is around getting rid of unwanted thoughts, fighting them off.
However, that’s not how our brain works. In sessions, I do an exercise called the pink elephant. I tell my clients that for the next minute, they are not allowed and are forbidden to think about pink elephants whether it is images of them, ideas of them or just the words.
Absolutely no one can stop thinking about them. A big component of our thoughts is something we can’t control. What we tend to do is filter through the millions of thoughts we get in a day to see which ones are worth remembering. We do that through emotions. The more a thought
has an emotion assigned to it, the more likely it is to come back because our brains deem it as important. Furthermore, let’s think of anxiety as a parasite, but rather than feeding on our blood, it feeds on our fears. This parasite wants to grow. So what it does is filter
Through all the thoughts we get in a day to find material to feed on. When there isn’t enough material, it brings back the old thoughts that worked in the past because it is a hungry parasite. What does that mean? When we want to fight these thoughts, we are actually continuing
to assign emotions to them, that means we are still feeding that damn parasite. We can’t get rid of them, and we can’t fight them. So what we can we do? Accept them. Thoughts have no meaning beyond the one we give them. We literally get millions a day. Just because you think you
may be a hard person, or may hurt someone or that your loved ones will perish doesn’t make it true. But it gets us anxious because we start to believe that our thoughts hold external power, even when it is not true, and so it scares us. However, when we accept those thoughts, we
welcome them, we tell them “stay as long as you want”, “I know you can’t hurt me”, “i will give you your space” we stop assigning emotions to them, we stop feeding the parasite, and it can no longer grow. These thoughts go away because they are no longer important, they are not
assigned emotions anymore. We are no longer trying to get rid of that pink elephant. It can now stay as long as it wants to until it goes away on its own. I hope this made sense