Raise your hand if you’ve experienced something like this before.
You’re walking down the street, having a regular day and enjoying the sunshine.
You make eye contact with a stranger as you walk past each other and they immediately look away.
No big deal, right?
But then that familiar voice pops into your head:
“You know, I bet she thinks you’re ugly! That’s why she looked away. Plus, she probably thinks you’re stupid too. And a loser. And a dork. You’re pathetic. No one could ever love you.”
0 to 100, right?
If you’ve been dealing with anxiety, low self-esteem or lack of confidence, then you’ve probably had to deal with that type of irrational thought process over and over again.
So, today I want to share with you how to stop irrational thoughts using one very simple tool that I learned from an eccentric professor during my years studying for my Psychology degree.
What A Mad Professor Taught Me About How To Stop Irrational Thoughts
It was about two years into my degree and I really wasn’t feeling it.
In fact, I was giving serious thought to just dropping out altogether.
You see, I had decided to study psychology so that I could help others.
The only problem was that I wasn’t really learning anything about how to do that.
I was picking and choosing which lectures to attend based on if I felt like going to class that day.
But on this day I found myself in class with an eccentric (possibly mad) professor.
This guy was something different entirely.
Instead of delivering a boring lecture from the front of the room, he moved up and down, engaging one on one with students. He was almost constantly on the move, except for the few minutes when he lay down and continued the lecture from his back.
It was during the weirdest lecture of my life that he revealed the secret of how to stop irrational thoughts for good using one simple psychological tool:
So, what is metacognition?
Simply put, it’s thinking about your thoughts.
You see, in your mind there are two parts of the thinking process.
Firstly, there is the thinker. This is the part of you that generates the thoughts. Usually this just happens automatically without much of your conscious say so.
Secondly, there is the observer. This is the part of you that actually sees and observes your thoughts as they occur. This is a much more conscious process.
I’m sure you’ve had instances when something totally random has popped into your mind and you’ve thought, “Huh, that was a weird thought.”
In that moment, you might not have realised but you were engaging in metacognition.
But, how exactly does this relate to stopping your irrational thoughts?
Well, it’s all about deciding whether you choose to be the thinker or the observer more often than the other.
Are You Thinking or Observing Your Irrational Thoughts?
As I’ve already said, the thinker is quite an automatic process.
It’s reactive and tends to happen without us even noticing it.
Just like that example from the beginning, something neutral happens and we immediately drop into a pattern of irrational thinking that leads us to feel:
But that’s not how the observer works.
Instead the observer just simply “observes” what has happened.
Rather than letting that irrational train of thoughts drag you down with it, the observer simply recognises that a thought has occurred.
There is no judgement of the thought.
It’s not good or bad.
It’s just an event that’s happened.
And, if you think about it, that’s the most logical approach to any automatic thought that pops into your mind.
Every automatic thought you have is the result of random electrical impulses in your brain.
So, why take them seriously at all?
The observer simply observes that a thought has happened and there’s nothing more to it.
How Does Metacognition Work?
Well, it’s all about separating an event from the meaning that we assign to it.
Most of the time, the events that happen to you in life have a meaning assigned to it.
Normally, we don’t choose this meaning.
And whatever meaning we assign to an event has a corresponding emotional response.
So, someone compliments you about your looks and you may:
- Accept the compliment and feel pleased or
- Reject the compliment and feel uncomfortable
- And many other automatic responses
But, what happens when you take away the meaning of an event?
It becomes an emotional neutral zone.
Now, of course we don’t want to be emotionally neutral forever.
After all, what kind of a life would that be, right?
But now that you have seen the thought or event for what it truly is, just another thing that happened, you can apply a more helpful and healthy meaning it it.
And at that point you're not being reactive anymore.
You’re not letting the event and it’s automated meaning define you.
And that's the whole idea of metacognition.
Remember, your thoughts are just thoughts.
And when you spend more time observing your thoughts than just thinking them, you start to take greater control of your life and your confidence.
So, regardless of how bad the situation might be we always have a choice of how we can respond.
We can choose to make our lives better!
If you’re ready to:
- Take your life and confidence to the next level
- Achieve your goals faster than you ever thought was possible
- Finally overcome self-doubt and become the person you’ve always known you could become
Then Confidence Coaching is the way to do it!
So, if you’re ready to work together to crush your obstacles, 10x your confidence and live a life that you love, make sure you check out the Work With Me page and arrange a FREE Discovery Call today!
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