Ruminating about what happened or worrying about tomorrow over which one has no control increases tension. Thoughts and body are intimately connected since every thought has a corresponding body response. In most cases the shoulder trapezius muscles tighten whenever negative thoughts and stress occur. Allow your neck and shoulder tension to dissipate and increase restfulness when you Calm your thoughts.
How to Calm Your Thoughts
Identify the theme of the disturbing thoughts and ask, “Is there anything that I can do about it?” If yes, do problem solving (see below) and if no, practice letting go of disturbing thoughts. For example imagine that the thought is like log floating on the river. Imagine that each time you exhale, the thought (log) can just float away. Then turn your attention the to present task.
Experience a moment of quietness when you go to the following website:
If there is something you can do about it begin problem solving to reduce the conflicts and stress of disturbing thoughts. Implement the following nine-step problem solving process to identify a problem, develop creative solutions, implement successful outcomes and thereby make the world your own.
- Define problem. List problems and then rank order them. Identify the primary problem to solve and describe it exactly (e.g., how, when, where and what).
- Brainstorm solutions. Make a list of all possible solutions however silly, crazy or ridiculous. Just write them down as they come up, do not judge or criticize. Allow a free flow of ideas.
- Review and evaluate brainstormed solutions. List all the pros and cons for each solution.
- Identify the best solution. Review and rank order the solutions and select the solution that will best solve the problem within all the constraints.
- Develop an action plan to implement the solution. Make this plan very specific. Write it down and be sure it includes answers to: what, when, where, how, with whom, under what conditions and what time.
- Mentally rehearse the action plan. Imagine seeing yourself executing the action plan and identify any barriers that would impede implementation.
- Revise the action plan in response to imagined barriers. Incorporate new procedures to bypass and overcome the barriers. Be sure the action plan is very specific.
- Implement plan and keep detailed log of its actions. Record what actually happened when you carried out the action plan and schedule a time to review the outcome of the action plan.
- Review outcome of action plan. Review the log of your action plan. If successful, continue the implementation. If it is not successful, stop and go back to step 1 and repeat the process. Common pitfalls include lack of time, other things taking priority or interfering with the plan, and social pressure. Go back to the beginning of the problem solving process and develop a new action plan in response to the barriers that occurred.
For a detailed a step by step guide to problem solving utilizing the brainstorming approach request a copy from firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney