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  • Writer's pictureBahar Önderol

Getting Rid of the Torment of Disturbing Thoughts

Updated: Jun 21

"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts."

- Buddha

Can't you get rid of the torment of disturbing thoughts and negative emotions against the behaviour of someone you know? Do the negative thoughts swirling in your mind dampen your mood and even you can’t fall asleep? Do you constantly remember the wrong behaviour and how it made you feel as if you are trying to convince yourself how right you are in how you feel? For example; you think that "This is unacceptable" or "disrespectful, rude and thoughtless behaviour". On the other hand, does your inner critique come into play and make you question what you did to deserve the behaviour that was done against you?

You are not alone. The disturbing thoughts swirling in our minds prolong the process of experiencing negative emotions, keep us captive to the negative emotions and even increase the severity of them. In addition, it creates judgment patterns that will be the basis for our interpretation of the next behaviour of the person we hold responsible for the emotion we had. After a while, your relationship with that person may become strained and perhaps end in an unpleasant argument. If this person is your colleague, you may not have peace of mind at work because you cannot end the relationship even if you wanted to.

You might have tried various methods to get rid of the torment of these negative thoughts. One of these methods could be to force yourself to concentrate again on what you were doing or divert your attention to other topics or activities and give yourself some time for your anger to pass each time you realize that you are thinking about the event that is bothering you. If you have trouble doing this, I recommend the method I learned in Loch Kelly's guided meditation. I used anger as an example of negative emotion to explain the method here, but you can also apply this method to other negative emotions such as sadness, fear, and anxiety. To apply the method, take a comfortable position, a few deep breaths and then follow the steps below:

  1. Notice where in your body you are feeling that negative emotion and say, “I am angry.”

  2. Now say: “I feel anger” (here you distance yourself from the negative emotion).

  3. Now say “I am aware that I am feeling anger”.

  4. Finally, say: “I am open to anger” (Accepting the emotion instead of resisting the emotion or blaming yourself for feeling it, in other words, accepting that it is natural to feel this emotion prepares you to let go of this negative emotion).

After your emotional state becomes neutral, you can analyze the event that made you angry and start the learning process for yourself. At this stage, shift your focus away from yourself (e.g. “how can he do this to me”) to the other person. By putting yourself in the other person's shoes and trying to be as nonjudgmental as possible, begin to wonder what the other person is feeling and thinking. At this stage, see if you are ready to give feedback to this person whose behaviour you are uncomfortable with. If you feel you are ready, contact the person and tell them how you feel using “I” statements (e.g. “I think you don't respect me when you act like this and I feel hurt”) and listen sincerely to understand the intention behind his behaviour. When you give feedback in this way, you not only help yourself to relax by expressing yourself but also support the learning of the other person by noticing his mistake.


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