[ Stop trying to stop || The best way to stop a problem is to start it || The prescribe the symptom process || Feeling bad on purpose can help you not feel bad ]
Everything in this article are suggested practices for non medically diagnosed conditions and are not intended to diagnose or treat any mental or physical condition. If you are diagnosed with a clinical condition then you must seek medical approval and/or supervision before attempting any processes.
“What!?” I hear you think…
“Are you saying stop trying?”
“Yes.” I respond.
“Are you crazy?”
“But persistence is the key to success is it not?”
“OK, now I’m confused.”
“Good; Lets start from there. It’s a much more useful place to learn something new from.”
Trying sucks doesn’t it? Haven’t you tried for long enough? How’s it working out for you?
Do you really think that the best way to get something is to keep trying the same old s**t again and again while expecting that this time it will miraculously work?
Isn’t that the very definition of futility?
And is it not also a bit silly to expect that doing something that up till now has added to your frustration at not getting what you want.., is going to suddenly align the stars and cause puppy dogs and rainbows to grace your every step as you joyously achieve your dreams?
[Side note: Puppy dogs are one of life’s antidotes to acting like a miserable twat.]
What if you stopped trying to stop doing something and started doing something else?
I’m going to give you a simple way of stopping by starting. I know that sounds weird but bear with me. I’ve just admitted to being crazy remember…
Stop trying to stop
So yeah it makes sense to not do the same things and expect a different outcome.
And yes it also makes sense to be in a positive feeling state when doing any sort of personal development individually or in groups.., both at an emotional and energetic level. And that giving up wanting something from a place of feeling the lack of it, is surprisingly effective at showing you the way to actually get it after all.
The basic understanding energetically, is that you cannot experience that which you are not the vibrational or emotional equivalent of. And giving up feeling bad about something not being there is the first step in giving space for the positive feeling of having it.
You have to let go of the pain to feel the pleasure!
And from a basic mental conditioning standpoint; any time spent thinking of the past, present or future while feeling negative is time spent programming yourself to feel that way more.
But what about actually stopping the problem behaviour or state of mind.
This is where giving up trying to stop becomes interesting.
Some Habitual habits and problems just seem to be out of control to the extent that no matter what you do, they persist or get worse. So stop trying to stop. They are out of control because you have given control of them over to the unconscious part of your mind. The same part of your mind that you rely on to pull your hand away from a hot object or duck when a pigeon trying to look tough to his pigeon girlfriend flies toward your head. 🙂
Your unconscious mind is doing it’s job.., but it’s doing more than it should because you have given it that task by default.
The best way to stop a problem is to start it
Yes that’s right. Unconscious habits are unconscious because you don’t do them consciously anymore. They became an unconscious skill! Note the way I said that. They are a skill.
The only reason they are called habits is because the skill part has been given over to the automatic part of the brain and it does it better than you can consciously do the process of ‘not habit’.
In other words; the unconscious mind is in this instance more powerful than you are to change it (you being the part that desires to change it).
So what can you do to reverse this power struggle?
Turning an unconscious habit back into a conscious skill
This is where you reverse the process that started the habit in the first place, by making the habit back into a conscious skill! Then as a skill you get to choose whether to do it or not and can turn it on or off at will. And my guess is you’ll choose to turn it off. You will still have the option to do the problem though; and that’s important.
Too many people think that you have to get rid of a problem. The truth is that change happens when you build or practice new more productive options that you unconsciously choose instead.
Neurologically, you can make electrical pathways in the brain weak to the point of being obsolete by not using them, but you will very rarely actually get ‘rid of’ a problem behaviour or thought. Instead you build by practice or process new neural pathways that lead to a preferred result. And being that the mind naturally moves toward more pleasure, the new pathway becomes the strong one and therefore the new habit.
The first step in reversing this habit process is to choose them consciously.
Yes, I’m suggesting you to do the problem more.., not less.
So to change a habit back into a skill, you need to start the habit on purpose…
The prescribe the symptom process
This is actually really easy, and can be a lot of fun. In fact you will find that this process gets you to look rather humorously or with an element of silliness at your problems which is one of the ways it works. Three main things are happening when you do this:
1) Dissociating (distancing) yourself from the problem.
2) Introducing humour and/or a sense of ridiculousness toward the problem.
3) Turning the problem into a skill that you can turn on and off at will.
You can do this with most action habits and pretty much all emotional ones.
Lets take something like getting angry as an example.
Schedule 3 or 4 times tomorrow that you are going to purposely get angry for 5 minutes.
You may want to do this in private, lol.
Having an understanding pillow to hand can be useful to hit or yell into so you don’t get the cops knocking on the door. Now you HAVE TO keep raging for the whole 5 minutes OK!? I mean full on going for it for the whole time; no stopping! Even make it worse than it usually is. Make it extreme. It will get weird and you’ll start to run out of steam but keep going! Use a stopwatch or countdown alarm if you like. Once you hit 5 minutes.., stop!
Immediately, just stop and you’re done for that session. Then go back to your normal day and state of mind.
What if you get stuck in the emotional state
This is very rare if you commit to the process fully. If you find that it takes you more than a dozen or so seconds to shake off the practised state and go back to your day.., try either shortening or lengthening the time you do it. Usually that would mean longer for something externally focused like anger, or shorter for something internally focused like depressed feelings.
The reason for this is that typically we already spend long periods of time in our heads building the emotional strength of depression, while by comparison we typically spend much shorter periods of time externalizing emotion or acting on it like anger. We want to do the opposite in this process.
The same neural pathways in the brain will be firing as you do this purposely, as would be firing if you were doing it out of habit. The difference now being that you are controlling them instead of them controlling you. Get the idea!? You are re-wiring the existing neural circuit by adding control.
This is really effective but so simple that people discount it and ignore it. Don’t be one of those people! If while doing this process over a period of days or weeks, you find yourself habitually doing the unwanted behaviour outside of your planned times.., that’s fine. Just smile knowingly to yourself and make sure you still keep to your scheduled appointments! If after a couple of weeks you have not made progress in significantly reducing the amount of unscheduled time in your problem.., then you are likely not exaggerating the scheduled times enough! This has to be different enough from normal to be voluntary instead of just indulging in your normal habit.
Feeling bad on purpose can help you not feel bad!
Yes, that’s right. Remember thought that (using feeling down as an example) for this to work you need to feel down like a pro. Take it to the next level for your allocated time and REALLY imagine it being so much worse than it is and then at the end of the time you simply STOP. And by stop I mean change your physiology, self talk and actions instantly. Move and do something different immediately. As mentioned at the beginning of this article.., this is not for people with clinically diagnosed conditions unless done with medical approval and supervision. Not because it won’t work. But because with serious conditions having someone with you will not only give you a safety net, but they can encourage you and make sure you exaggerate the problem during the scheduled times to DO your problem.
Teaching the brain it has control
By consciously doing a habitual pattern and even doing it worse than it is you put it back into your control. And at the same time; when you amplify a feeling or habit upwards, you teach the brain by association and contrast that you can also de-amplify it downwards. So it has a double positive effect.
You can prescribe yourself times to be stressed, times to cry, times to worry, times to bite your nails, times to clench your teeth, times to lie in bed and stay awake as long as you can (for insomnia), times to waggle your bum in public (erm.., yeah whatever)… the options are endless.
[Waggle (verb) – like a wiggle but with more unbridled joygasm puppy dog qualities]
Some habits like smoking may have better ways of approaching them. In this example the time variable would need to be long enough for quite a few cigarettes to be consumed in a space of time for you to get sick of them (probably literally). So use your discretion as to what is appropriate. Not saying it wouldn’t work there.., it does. But there are better ways for that sort of thing.
Pick an amount of time for your skill practice, 5 minutes is pretty good for most things. You will find after a few days or weeks (gauge for yourself by how you feel and how your behaviour changes) that it will become stupid and annoying to do the behaviour rather than familiar and automatic. And viola.., your brain will get the message that this is now a choice, not a problem. And by then your brain will also have the skill to take a feeling up OR down at will. A VERY, VERY useful skill to have!
And if you notice yourself starting down that path outside of the scheduled times, you can even take control of how fast it goes right then. Try sensationalising the anxiety right then in the moment for just a minute or two. If you make it extreme enough in your mind you may even laugh.
Have fun with this as always.
I have to go now.., it’s time for my scheduled drooling over a bowl of chocolate chip ice-cream session…