“How can EMDR help repetitive, unwanted thoughts?”

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Hello there,

By now you may have noticed that I like to write up a little snippet from each coaching session for you to benefit from.

A highlight point from of this week’s coaching session concerned repetitive thoughts – “How can EMDR help repetitive thoughts?”

Repetitive, and unwanted thoughts are signals from your body telling you that it feels uncomfortable. In fact, there is cyclical process involved and engaging with those thoughts can lead you down the rabbit hole.

Stop the thinking by focusing your attention elsewhere for several minutes – either on an external source (e.g. a point in the distant) or how you feel internally. This is actually a form of meditation.

It goes something like this: You think of something upsetting, this sends a message to your body to tense up, the body tenses up and confirms to your brain that you feel uncomfortable which in turn affirms your originating thought. This then sets off another series of messages from brain to body and visa versa, creating a loop effect that makes you feel increasingly bad.

Here is one way of processing unwanted thoughts so that they are less likely to return: 

Step 1. As soon as you notice the upsetting thought, ask yourself, where do I feel this in my body? Look for the tension or sensations that arise, you may notice you feel hot, tingling in the hards, tense shoulders, heart pain, a stomach doing somersaults, a tight jaw or a furrowed brow.

Step 2. Next focus on how you feel and try to breathe more calmly with longer exhalations. Focusing all the time on your body’s experience. With time the sensations will pass and if they return it is usually with less intensity.

Step 3. Return your mind to your present, notice what you were in the middle of doing (before being distracted by the maddening thoughts) and go back to concentrating on the task at hand (e.g. work or enjoying a walk). You can add self affirmations at this point to reinforce your present safety. Repeat these steps as often as you need to.

In terms of EMDR – Unwanted thoughts represents the brain ‘adding up’ events from the past, and or future, and then drawing the conclusion that you need to be on alert. EMDR will help relieve the portion of stress from the past or future that is interfering with your presence.

Another way of understanding unwanted thoughts is thought the self concept in that:

There is a younger self trying to communicate with you now. The present (or future) has reminded you of past experiences that were never settled and as a result leaves you feeling uncomfortable still. No amount of thinking will calm these thoughts. You need to heal the past, and release the related tension left in the body.

You can ask yourself, “How old do I feel when I tune into these feelings that accompany the thoughts? What help do I need ?  Then imagine yourself getting that help. If you want a hug, imagine giving yourself a mental hug – what would it be like if you were hugged? Console your younger self with some wisdom from your adult self that has perspective about events now.

Pocket Stress Buster teaches you more about all of these concepts that intertwine well with EMDR

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