Have you ever said to yourself “I don’t know why I just did that” or “I cannot believe I just said that” after a lack of concentration, after a squabble or simply when you were “out of your comfort zone”.
You are not alone! Many people lose concentration and even lose control and do or say the wrong things in stressful situations. These situations are often simply our defence mechanisms coming out to protect us when we are vulnerable or not in the right state of mind to be doing the task at hand.
The problem is, these defence mechanisms are not the best part of our personality to be out in these times. So it’s a matter of making sure you have the right part out at the right time.
“That’s all well and good” I hear you say, “I cannot stop those thoughts”
Let me explain further, part of the answer is something psychologists refer to as self-distancing; a term coined by researchers Ethan Kross and Ozlem Ayduk. What spurred Ethan Kross to investigate the concept in the first place was an act of mindlessness: He accidentally ran a red light. He scolded himself by saying out loud, “Ethan, you idiot!” Referring to himself in the third person made him wonder if there might be something more to this quirk of speech, and if it might represent a method for changing one’s perspective.
The short answer is “yes”. According to Kross, when you think of yourself as another person, it allows you to give yourself more objective, helpful feedback.
As Pamela Weintraub writes in the May issue of Psychology Today:
“By toggling the way we address the self—first person or third—we flip a switch in the cerebral cortex, the center of thought, and another in the amygdala, the seat of fear, moving closer to or further from our sense of self and all its emotional intensity. Gaining psychological distance enables self-control; allowing us to think clearly, perform competently. The language switch also minimizes rumination, a handmaiden of anxiety and depression after we complete a task. Released from negative thoughts, we gain perspective, focus deeply and plan for the future.”
It’s all about being present and instead of reacting to the inner voice, listen to it and actually respond to it internally.
The other part of the answer is about being present (mindful) and having the right part out at the most appropriate time. This can be achieved by getting to know your different internal parts and their names. You may have a part of your sub-conciseness that controls the way you react to certain situations that are inappropriate.
Sometimes these parts do not behave in ways we would like them to behave: “I know I shouldn’t do it, but I just can’t seem to stop myself from checking the locks everyday”, or, “I can’t stop myself from eating sweets”.
There are many behaviours people can find upsetting, yet cannot seem to stop from doing. Smoking and OCD behaviours are just two from a long list including, gambling, drug & alcohol addictions, cleaning, workaholics, eating disorders, and more.
As Resource Therapists, we understand that there is an underpinning cause, and that the part of us that is doing the unwanted behaviour is not the cause, rather it is the part of us that is trying to protect us from feeling the bad underlying feelings that are held by another part of us. Feelings that are perceived to be so bad that a protective part of us will do almost anything to prevent us from having to feel them. Even if that ‘something’ is a behaviour that we do not wish to have, like an addiction to smoking or shouting at someone when you are stressed.
Resource Therapy seeks to bring normality to all of our parts, recognising all parts of us as valuable resources that make us the unique individuals we are. Resource Therapy is a respectful therapeutic theory and practice, which acknowledges and validates the personality’s needs for internal and external health and harmony.
Listen to your inner-voice, use your name in the third person – speak to yourself as if you want to be heard “Paul, do you think this is the right way to act in this situation” by using this simple thought process you may break the mindlessness cycle and be on the road to self discovery and success.
If, however, you find self-distancing hard to do or you cannot change those “What did I just say or do” moments. Give me a call and we can discuss further options through Resource Therapy Intervention.
Resource Therapy enables treatment interventions that directly address the personality part in need of change, quickly, powerfully and effectively. Issues such as, but not limited to, OCD, depression, addictions, eating disorders and PTSD can be treated and resolved in a fraction of the time spent using most other therapies, including CBT. Resolving the pathology held by a Resource State alleviates the causes of psychological distress, and frees Personality Resources to resume positive functions.Until next time – listen to your inner voice and remember your name