4 tips to stop thinking about the negative

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Getting club? Nothing out of the ordinary. “The brain is a machine set up to detect danger, our survival depends on it,” says Dr. David Gourion, a psychiatrist and PhD in neuroscience. When the non-anxious person “switches” from one subject to another, like a cat, able to engage and unengage their attention in a second, the real anxious person gets caught up in their problem. However, it is impossible to stop ruminations by will. And yoga, relaxation, meditation or self-hypnosis are methods that are not suitable for everyone. “It became urgent, in our anxiolytic context, to offer people with severe stress, who do not always have access to a psychiatrist or a psychologist, tools that have been scientifically validated and/or based on my experience”, informs the first . clinical head of the hospital-university psychiatry department of the Sainte-Anne hospital in Paris His book Anti stress (Marabout) offers a new approach, simple, progressive and complete – integrating physical activity, sleep… – based on therapies metacognitive (thinking one’s own thinking). ). “Instead of trying to restructure the negative content of our thoughts, which takes time, we will teach the mind to play its role as director so that a much better music comes out of it”, explains the psychiatrist, who only asks his readers for a commitment : read one chapter a week. Here are some of her techniques… Also to discover: “I have reconciled with the father of my children”: 3 women testify “Mentally label” your problem “We have the impression that by dwelling on our worries , its causes and its consequences, we will solve them, but it is a view of the mind, warns Dr. David Gourion. Not only does rumination solve nothing and waste our time, it also awakens painful emotions (sadness, anger, fear , shame, etc.) that can lead to problematic behaviors that make them worse. Not to mention that the deep stress that results from it makes us suffer: somatic disorders, depression, burn-out…” The correct reflection? “Above all, don’t try to escape these painful thoughts, which will come back like a boomerang, warns the psychiatrist. Better to become aware of the irruption of these ruminations in your mental space, comparable to a changing sky. “In practice When it comes to your mind a problem, tag me finally with a “Here you go”. If it’s still the same, feel free to personalize it by giving it a ridiculous nickname: Gudule, Mrs. Irma… This will help you smile, take some distance. Another way to “de-clutter” your negative thoughts: Breathe through your stress. “Observe its physical manifestation like a scientist or a researcher, as if it were the first time you heard it, suggests the psychiatrist. Give it a color. When you inhale, visualize the colored air that circulates in the painful sensation, as it is about dilating this space in you, to make it less dense, more fluid. As you exhale, smile kindly to yourself. » Wood the scams of your brain. We give too much credit to the content of our ruminations: “Our brains use our intelligence and our powers of persuasion to make us believe that what we think or believe is true, warns David Gourion. However, it must be realized that he continuously invents false needs – this is his facet as a carpet salesman: “It is essential for me…” -, false dangers – his part as a dishonest insurer: “I have to be very careful with…” – and false positive beliefs – their guru side: “Worrying means I’ll be ready/helps me cope” – that lead to countless painful ruminations. »In practice« Try to identify from time to time which of the three great tricksters of the human psyche is whispering in your ear, recommends Dr. Gourion. Also identify what, in your ruminations, is fetal and what is false information (“fake news”), a theory, a negative belief. Finally, hunt for the “what ifs” (“What if I lose my job?”) and the “buts” (“So far so good, but there is no guarantee that it will continue”), very small words that are the hard core of thinking of anxious people. »According to your concerns when you decide. We don’t have to follow our brain in its ruminations and let our problems summon us all the time. “If a colleague calls you late in the evening to ask you to spend two hours solving a thorny file, you will reframe it very well by offering to talk about it tomorrow first thing in the morning,” laughs Dr. Gourion. So why don’t we do it with our brains? We must remain the captain of our mind. If we don’t control our thoughts and emotions through sheer willpower, we can decide to some extent how much attention we want to give them, like instead of listening to all the bad news on a non-stop news channel, we deliberately turn down the sound to attend to occupations that interest us the most. »In practice, imagine two columns: “serious” (imminent danger of death to you or someone close) and “not serious” (everything else). Now see another classification: “useful” (everything that can be solved) and “useless”. Only that which is serious and useful deserves your attention. Other worries can be postponed! In this case, the specialist invites us to make an appointment with the problems that concern us at a time when we can make a decision or act with complete clarity. “This ‘change of your worries’ will keep them from overwhelming you all the time,” he promises. And you bet that the next day they will no longer exist, or they will appear to you in another form or with their solution. Don’t we say the night brings advice? Boost your motivation for change Because of the time and energy we spend on them, ruminations prevent us from accomplishing what is really important to us. “To stop going around, you have to want it, the psychiatrist is convinced. But the difficulty is that rumination has an addictive dimension: “When everything is going well, I need to find something else to light the flame of my anxiety”, one patient confided to me. Motivational therapies, very effective for this type of problem, evacuate the dialectic of will: instead of asking patients to make efforts, they insist on meaning, the feeling of reward and the dynamics of progress, to tip the balance on the side of the advantages of changing the system. »In practice visualize yourself free from your anxiety. “Imagine very concretely (with sound and color!) what this will change for your self-esteem, your relationships with loved ones, your quality of life, recommends Dr. David Gourion. Think about the teenager you were, your dreams then, the promises that can still be achieved. To help you, feel free to keep a journal where you write about your deep values ​​and the projects you would like to see come to fruition. »The four mantras of Dr. David Gurion 1. We solve our problems with facts and not with thoughts. 2. You are not the valet of your worries.3. Don’t worry about problems that don’t exist yet.4. Most of our thoughts don’t deserve the attention we give them.
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