Re: WANNA SEE WHAT THE PILL CAN DO TO WOMEN LIKE YOU? So how do we begin to tackle this problem of unwanted thoughts? You need a change of attitude. By a change in attitude, I mean a change in the way you react to the thoughts. This goes back to the idea of acceptance mentioned earlier. An attitude of acceptance quickly disarms the emotional reaction you have to the fearful thoughts. Once the emotional reaction has been significantly reduced, the unwanted anxious thoughts dissipate. In the past, you’ve probably tried to rid yourself of the thoughts by attempting to struggle free of them. The trick, however, is not to try to be free of them, but to accept them as they run through your mind. We can never fully control what goes through our minds, but we can control how we react to what goes on there. That’s the key difference between someone who gets caught up in fearful thinking and someone who does not. The thoughts that terrify us aren’t fueled by some unknown force; they are our own. We empower them and, equally, we dismiss them. When you have an uncomfortable thought you’d rather not be thinking, your first reaction is usually to tense up internally and say to yourself, “Oh no, I don’t like that idea. I don’t want that thought right now.” The very act of trying to push the thought away, and then † Wegner, D. M., Schneider, D. J., Carter, S., III, & White, L. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 409–418. 80 understandably getting upset when that doesn’t work, causes the thought to become more stuck to your psyche. It’s like saying to your mind over and over again, “Whatever you do, don’t think of pink elephants.” Guess what? You can’t get in a single thought that’s not related to pink elephants. As long as you struggle with the thought, your mind, like a bold child, keeps returning to it. This is not to say that your mind is maliciously working against you. It’s better to compare the mind to a radar scanner that picks up on thoughts with high levels of emotional reaction connected to them. To not react emotionally, learn to disempower the thought’s “fear factor” by accepting it and gently moving your attention back to what you were doing. Don’t hide from or push away the anxious thoughts. So take this example. Let’s say you have fear “X” going on in your mind. That fear can be virtually anything your mind might conceive. You know the thoughts aren’t a realistic fear, and you want them to stop interrupting your life. The next time the fearful thought comes to mind, don’t push it away. This is important. Tell yourself that that’s fine, that the thought can continue to play in your mind if it wishes, but you’re not going to give it much notice—and you’re certainly not going to qualify it by reacting with fear. You know in your heart that the thought is very unlikely to happen. You have a deeper sense of trust, and you won’t be emotionally tossed around all day by a thought. Say to yourself: Well, that thought/fear is a possibility, but it’s very remote—so whatever. Today I’m trusting that all is well.