The we moved on to thinking about thoughts. Are they always helpful? What can we do if they are not helpful?
I am really intrigued by how thoughts, feelings and behaviours all link together and it can be unclear what comes first. I can definitely say thoughts cause me to feel things that then cause me to act. This is often the case when it comes to emotional eating for me.
Knowing that most of our thoughts on a daily basis are automatic and we cannot control if or when they pop into our head is helpful to me. In a way that that it helps me accept that thoughts come and go, some more than others, but they are not permanent. The problem is the feelings and behaviours that stem from unhelpful thoughts.
I can now work backwards from binging episodes and combat what I’m feeling and what I was thinking about and therefore what I was trying to distract myself from. But the next step is catching the thoughts and doing something different to alter the feelings or the way I act. Last night they gave us some questions to ask ourselves and these were the ones that resonated with me:
- Will I gain anything useful from listening to this thought?
- Does this though help me take effective action to improve my life?
- Does it help me be the person I want to be?
I know asking these questions in the moment will be hard, but I am going to try and make it a habit to stop and ask these when I want to binge eat.
I liked last night session as it was a lot of thinking and theory and this helps me understand the tools better and how they will help me as long i make the effort.
The next part of the session put labels on thinking patterns. I like this as it does help me disconnect from the thoughts and become aware of what I am doing:
- Mind reading – I do think a lot with people
- All or Nothing – this is the diet mentality
- Over-generalising – using the words always or never
- Emotional Reasoning – basing reality of the way you feel
- Disqualifying the positive – I hated it when people said ‘I only lost a pound’
- Shoulds – rigid orders
I am also going to try and work on picking up on when I do these unhelpful thinking patterns.
We then moved on a new way of thinking about thoughts and it makes so much sense to me. Being aware of how much we fuse with a thought can help us to disconnect with the thoughts and not allow the thought to push us in a direction or make the thought a reality.
- Fusion – becoming stuck with a thought – this definitely happens to me and is probably a big part of why I worry a lot. I get stuck on thoughts and worry about them so much it interferes with other aspects of my life.
- De-fusion – taking a step back and seeing the thoughts for what they are, nothing more than words passing through our heads – I like the idea that we can just watch the thought float by without having to act on them. This is something that will be very helpful to me.
I struggled with the de-fusion techniques at the end of the session, but that was more because I was very tires and had very few thoughts. But I know I find writing thoughts down extremely helpful so I will carry on with that. Another one I want to work on is watching the thoughts as thought they are on the move – floating down a stream. I think this will work with the Headspace meditations I have been doing.
There are 2 more sessions to go of the course and I can already say I have found the course extremely helpful. I think the difference between this time and the time I did the course last year is the place where I am. I feel like I’m coming out the other end of the tunnel – well at least see the glow of light – and can therefore view things more objectively than I could last year. I am feeling good at the moment. Not happy or sad, but neutral and I like it 🙂