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How to stop negative thoughts

You're always dealing with that voice in your head. You can't eradicate it. But you can keep it at bay with these techniques pioneered by Phil Stutz, M.D., psychiatrist and co-author of The Tools


By Benjy Hansen-Bundy, GQ

Make that negative voice shut the hell up

"You start out judging somebody else. But eventually the judgment is going to turn back around, and it's going to attack you. It's like a beast in the basement that we don't want to allow to come out. That's in 100 per cent of the cases. 'Radical acceptance' is the antidote to judgment. Imagine you're surfing. You can't possibly know the size, shape, or speed of the next wave. When that wave does reach you, you want to react to it as if it's perfect. As if you've been waiting for it all your life. You're delighted. There it is. It's perfect. In other words, after something happens, you have the ability to relate to it as if it's exactly what you wanted. Then it doesn't matter what happens. People think: 'If I accept the state I'm in now, I won't improve.' And that's wrong. If you accept the state you're in now, it makes you whole. It connects you to a force of wholeness, which is infinite. But it means you've got to become whole first, which means accepting what is."


Don't let anyone else get inside your head

"Let's say somebody does you badly - a co-worker stabs you in the back. You start to think: 'How could he have done that? I want revenge.' At that point he's in control, because you need something from him. We call that 'the Maze.' Because what happens is that guy pitches a tent inside your brain. He brings his whole family there, and all you think about is him all the time. And usually it's somebody you don't like, which makes it even more unpleasant. While you're thinking about revenge or complaining in disbelief about what he did, whatever it is, life goes on. Time is passing. Most of what we do has to do with best use of time. You don't have time to stay in 'the Maze.' People say, 'Yeah, but look at what the person did! Look at how injurious it was!' That has nothing to do with it. In other words, it's not good for you to have this person living in your mind."
"Our whole culture is looking for magic. A job, a degree, a girlfriend that will take you to a better place"


Accept that the world is unfair

"This is especially true of males: They want to have a sense of control over the universe. To get that control, you have a set of expectations about how you should be treated. And if someone doesn't meet those expectations, you tend to get angry, hurt, almost disoriented. But your expectations about the way the world should treat you mean nothing."


Find meaning in the small things

"Sometimes it involves pushing yourself - even if the arena you're working in isn't that interesting to you. We call that 'Inner Intensity.' Basketball is a funny sport, because it's very hard to tell from the stands the difference between somebody who's playing okay, particularly on defence, versus somebody who's leaving it all on the court. Let's say you're in the game and your team clunks the shot. The other guys get the rebound, and all of a sudden they're fast breaking on you. It's near the end of the game. You want to vomit. You have no physical energy to turn around and run 50, 60 feet back. The great players will do it anyway. And that's called "the 105." In other words, it's not just 100 percent of the effort, it's 105 percent. You might say, 'Great, but I'm not a pro basketball player.' It doesn't matter. That's applicable to anything you're doing. If you have to edit something, it's applicable. If you want to improve your relationships around you, what I try to do is get people to make a habit of stretching themselves out."


Kick-start yourself before making a big decision

"Our whole culture is looking for magic. A job, a degree, a girlfriend that will take you to a better place. If you're trying to make a big decision - like maybe I shouldn't be in this company or doing this particular job or whatever - first put yourself in motion. Sitting there, trying to figure it out, is a disaster. What you want to do is put yourself in motion first and then see how things look. If you try to make a big decision when you're depressed or passive, you almost always get it wrong. And the reason you get it wrong is you're looking for the decision to change you. And that's not how life works. In other words: Change yourself first, then make the decision. The highest forces, the life-changing forces, enter your life through the smallest things, not the biggest. There's a famous quote by Picasso. Someone asked him, 'Is there such a thing as inspiration?' and he said, 'Yeah, but when God comes down, he better find you at work.' Most of that has to do with small things. Small things are sacred. Even if you're in a dead-end job and you can't wait to get out of it, there's always things you can do that will represent a greater level of commitment on our part."
"When you're exhausted, your physical body becomes an obstacle. Usually that creates a downward spiral"


Push that "B" day into "A-" territory

"When you're exhausted, your physical body becomes an obstacle. Usually that creates a downward spiral: The less energy I have in my body, the less I'm going to engage in the world. And the less I engage in the world, the less energy I have because energy comes from engaging in the world. Visualise 12 suns in a circle maybe ten feet above your head. Even if you don't believe it, just do it anyway. Think of those 12 suns in a circle as an entranceway into a realm of infinite energy. Past those 12 suns is a world where nothing is missing. The world where your physical body lives, that world is always missing something. Always. A lot of people try to work in that lower world, often by using drugs. Other people like to get into fights. People pull their hair out. These are all fake ways of stimulating yourself. And they become addictive, and then they drag you down. The way to gain energy is to say 'Help' to these 12 suns. They'll start to spin counterclockwise, creating a 'vortex' that will suck you up. When you go through it, what you'll find is the size of your body will change. You start to find your body will expand, bigger and bigger, and the bigger it gets, the more energy you have. It's not the same energy as punching somebody in the face. It's rhythmic."


Lastly, take a look at Steph Curry

"In the off-season, he has a board and there are lights on the board. Each light corresponds to a given move that he has to make. If there's a green light, that means a crossover. Or a yellow, that's a pullback. It doesn't really matter. The lights change from one colour to another, faster than you can think. So what he's doing is training himself to function without thinking. Athletically, he's nothing fantastic, but nobody can keep up with him because he's got all these forces coming from his guts that have nothing to do with thinking."
Mental Health,Health



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