It is almost impossible not to hear this statement when you talk to someone: what would so-and-so think or say? My mind immediately shoots this subliminal fast response: who cares what people think or this person thinks! This question generates anxiety in many people, especially young people. Our low self-esteem usually does not let us respond to this question. Experience in living brings wisdom (at least this is what is supposed to happen) to answer this question. Our self-confidence increases as we go through life, making it easier to handle our self-doubts. I even see this in our current political life which is impossible to escape: People are laughing at us. I personally don’t care why people are laughing at us !
When I was 12 years old riding a rented bicycle during one of my vacations with my parents, I increased my speed to impress several girls who were looking at me from the curb. Suddenly within seconds, I flipped and went sky diving into the air, landing in the grass. The sound of these girls’ laughter has stayed vivid in my mind to this day. These young teenagers were laughing at me! The pain which I endured remembering this silly incident stayed with me for many years.
I wish I could have deleted this memory from my mind, similar to deleting a computer file. High anxiety people as well as depressed people hold onto their bad memories and pain longer than average people. Holding our dreadful thoughts, as psychiatrists believe, determines the way we interact with the world. Dreadful thoughts dismantle our sleep, studying, as well as productivity, not mentioning socializing and loving those close to us.
In my weekly journal on September 23, 1999 I wrote, “I was talking to … and I mentioned that her … did not like the …because it is …. She was not smiling and I feel terrible ….” This constant assessment of my words and what people think about them took my mental energy. Many of my words were very benign, and probably people will never remember or notice what I said. My mind always was on guard, triggering a lot of stress. I never questioned my thoughts at that time. One time I sent an apology email to a colleague of mine for something I said. Within minutes, I received a response telling me that she was puzzled and telling me that she cannot recall my words, but at the same time thanking me anyway for being sensitive and considerate. It seems that I overthink and over-analyze things.
Finding a process to control awful thoughts, to stop feeling down at times, and to overcome my concern for what people thought about me, created a mission to find a solution. Meditation has the ability to accomplish this. Meditation controls our thinking by strengthening our ability to move our attention back to one thing, triggering relaxation. During our meditation practice, we move beyond acceptance of our wandering minds to rein in our minds thereby eliminating the often negativity of our inner voice. Time and time again, research has proven to us that meditation, an ancient thousands of years old technique, can help countless people to overcome negative thoughts.
Researchers from Georgetown University decided to study the different effects of meditation and a stress management technique, using 89 people with general anxiety disorder. They divided the participants into two groups: one group would practice mindful meditation and the second group would receive training on general stress-reduction focusing on wellness like healthful eating and good sleep habits. Both groups took an eight-week course. The researchers analyzed blood samples measuring the stress hormone ACTH (adrenocorticotropic) and inflammation markers (cytokines). Participants practicing mindful meditation training were found to have lower levels of ACTH and cytokines compared with the stress management group. Psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Hoge who was the team leader of the research highlighted that Mindful meditation is easier and more cost effective as well as it has a greater effect in improving resilience to stress.
In addition to meditation, the second method which I regularly use is the Sedona method. I ask myself five questions to release destructive thoughts. If you would like to know these questions from one of my previous posts, please press here.
Releasing these depressive thoughts with the Sedna methods before meditating creates a calm mental state to practice meditation. As I become more experienced at meditation and capable of controlling my thoughts, I feel more confident and am able to resist worrying about what others think of me. The practice of meditation helps me to keep things in perspective.
Thank you for reading my post. I would love to hear from you (Sufalkhaldi@futureandsciencehacks.com)