Whenever my neck or back begin to feel out of “whack”, I go to my favorite masseuses in the mall. They dig in deep and thoroughly into exhausted muscles to bring health and balance to a part of my body that is sore and tired. I do this fairly regularly.
Yet when my thoughts begin to become dysfunctional, or I think through the filter of despair or anxiety, I rarely take care of my mind that houses them. It’s time, like my body, to give myself a massage. Not just any massage but a cognitive one. What do I mean by that? Our mind can become sore and bruised through cognitive distortions- faulty, untruthful thinking and they need to be worked out so the pain dissipates. So here are some techniques for giving yourself a cognitive massage to bring health, healing, and balance to your mind to achieve optimal functioning.
-Identify the event that caused stress or strain in you life. This could be an event from getting a divorce to a disagreement at work.
-Identify the subsequent thought that coursed through your mind as a result of that event. Here is where we can blow things out of proportion. You might easily think you’re a failure or nobody really likes you. These are thoughts that make our head “wanna bust open” and need to be kneaded out of our minds.
-Interrogate the thought with truthful evidence that will most likely uncover the dysfunction behind it. Look at your thought square in the eye and shine the bright light of interrogation upon them. Is it truthful or a deception? Is that thought lying to you? Is it telling the truth? Simply ask yourself if the thought is helpful to you. If not, it is a distortion and in need of the truth.
-List ways to nurture the perception of the event through the new evidence of healthful thinking. As the cliche goes, “Flip the Script”. After ridding the mind of the toxins of untruthful thoughts, look a the event with a renewed mindset. I think you’ll discover the event taking on a much healthier reality than before.
-Repeat for any other stressful event.
Like any deep tissue massage, it can be a bit painful and uncomfortable, but it is something that feels so good. It isn’t a harmful pain. The same with a cognitive massage. It can feel uncomfortable at first, but if done effectively will end up feeling good.