Your brain is biased to pay attention to the negative – this is a normal, how your healthy, active fear centre in your brain helps you survive. Its job is to send signals of anxiety whenever it perceives threat.
Brain research confirms that there is also an observing aspect of your mind which notices your thoughts, feelings and body sensations but is distinct from these and decides whether to engage with them or not. This is referred to as the ‘executive centre’ or the ‘observing self or I’.
If you simply identify with your thoughts, feelings and sensations you then become at the mercy of your fears and anger.
Various techniques can be used to strengthen your observing self and reduce the adverse impacts of identifying with the ever changing weather of thoughts, feelings and sensations; and help you to increase your sense of inner freedom and relaxation.
One way (Open Attention Method) is to first train yourself to follow your breath and to say out loud using a single word anything that comes into your awareness from moment to moment. Then return your attention to your breathing. After several minutes of this, you can start to verbalize internally whatever you are noticing.
The key of this exercise is to consider your breath as your ‘centre’, be interested in whatever thoughts, images, feelings or sensations pull you away from your centre and to keep your attention long enough on what has pulled you away to name it e.g. “Worrying”. Then return your attention to your ‘centre’ – breathing.
The point of this training is to strengthen your observing self. The movement from centre to off-centre and back to centre is just the normal flow of attention. You shouldn’t attempt to stay fixedly focused on the centre. In this way, you can establish a base of relaxation in your breathing and at the same time not deny whatever experiences were present for you.
Thoughts, feelings and sensations just come and go – some pleasant, some unpleasant, some old, some new. They won’t magically disappear but this method can take some energy out of them and gives you more of a choice as to whether to follow them or not.
From the Preston Chiropractor Team
Getting You Back in Action & Enjoying Your Life Again
Serving the people of Preston and surrounding areas including Southport and Lytham St Annes