Cedar Creek, Australia
Mental Health, Motivational

Dealing with Thoughts

Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy… or they become legend. – Jim Harrison

reflection

Self-Talk

Most of us have some kind of inner dialogue within our minds, that is the manifestation of our thoughts. Sometimes our self-talk or thoughts are kind and positive, supporting and encouraging us, such as, “Don’t be afraid, – you can do it!” Other times, they can become a destructive enemy, suggesting we don’t deserve any measure of happiness.

Our minds hear these inner thoughts or talk, and sometimes they get stuck on an endless repeat. The subconscious mind might then have a difficult time distinguishing between reality and imagination, as both positive and negative thoughts may stimulate neural networks and result in physical reactions in the body.

We can use mental imagery to our advantage in slowly or stopping those recurring thoughts, through simple visualization techniques. Listening to slow music and visualizing your day helps to organize your thoughts, mentally prepare you, and reduce stress. Studies on visualization techniques have shown positive outcomes whereby the subconscious mind hears and believes a suggestion leading to a boost in confidence and mental preparedness, not felt before. www.huffpost.com

I have used the following visualization to help me deal with persistent undesired thoughts, feeling of anxiety, frustration or stress and just when I am feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated or wish to calm down.

Visualization Techniques

stream
Creek bed upstream Cedar Creek

I use a visualisation that involves imagining that I am sitting comfortably on the bank of a stream, watching random twigs or branches float by with the gentle current. I imagine that a twig, branch or even a leaf, is an individual thought.

Imagine

  • Sit comfortably on the bank of your ‘imaginary’ stream.
  • When a thought comes along in your mind, imagine seeing that thought as a twig or leaf, floating on the surface of the water.
  • Watch each leaf, or thought, approach from a bend further up the stream; imagine each leaf approaching you, getting closer and closer, until it floats in front of you.
  • Acknowledge its presence but continue to watch it floating by with the gentle current.
  • Continue watching it on its way downstream, until it slowly disappears from view and is out of sight.

You can use a leaf for a minor thought like a household chore that needs to be done and a branch for a big “worry,” if that helps you. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is the movement down the stream and out of sight.

Occasionally a twig will get stuck on the side of the bank, (ie the persistent unstoppable thought), until the current builds and builds and then you imagine seeing it finally washing downstream, too.

water splashing

Sometimes you might find your focus wanders a little, or that twig gets stuck for too long behind a rock on the bank. Distract the mind into letting the thought go, by moving your focus to look further upstream again, to ‘see,’ what thought the mind will come up with next. Try it!

Feel free to adjust location, or image, as you prefer. You might prefer sitting in a field watching a animal such as a bird, (or deer) instead of a leaf in a stream. You could watch the bird come into your line of sight, watch it pause to eat and then watch it fly away.

In this way your mind allows thoughts to come, it acknowledges them, yet you remain a silent observer of your thoughts. You are not fighting to keep the thoughts away.

This allows the mind to release the thought and leave your attention. This is way better than the troubling thought! It gives your mind that much-needed break.

Visualization is one of the ways to get your mind back on track when you feel out of balance.

Stress Relief

Another stress relief technique from another blogger:

“Lie on your back and imagine all the stress in your body is warm lava concentrated at the top of your head. Then, slowly imagine it pouring down your ears, neck, shoulders, and entire body. You should actually feel a sensation roll down your body as you imagine the stress leaving your head. I use this to fall asleep, and I have never stayed awake past my shoulders.”

WordPress blogger

The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. – Dag Hammarskjold

Community

Healthy Waldorf Salad with a Twist

I was skimming through an old recipe book today, deciding whether to keep or throw it out. I do have an excess of household ‘stuff,’ that’s been in storage for well over twelve months awaiting our relocation into a modern new house by the beach, so even with the massive amounts of cupboard space the new house has, I still would like to downsize as much as I can.

So it was in a somewhat semi exhausted state from unpacking, I happened upon the recipe book. Truly, it might have just been easier to toss the whole thing out and start with fresh recipes, but handwritten old favourites evoke family memories too, so I knuckled down with a cuppa and flipped through the yellowing, slightly food stained pages. That’s when I found a recipe for “Avocado Norwegian,” that I had torn from Brisbane’s first ever vegetarian restaurant’s cookbook. The recipe is a form of salad topping an avocado half.

The recipe before the Fusion

Now normally the thought of chomping into half an avocado, (even one with a delicious topping), as one would an apple or pear, turns my stomach, but for some reason I saved this recipe and thus, gave it another look. I thought anything remotely connected with Scandinavia always deserves my attention.

I decided it might work better if I changed it a little and gave it a bit more flair. After all, who doesn’t adapt recipes? 

With the addition of a few extra ingredients, served on a bed of spinach/kale mix, and garnished with dill sprigs, I created a kind of Norwegian Waldorf Salad Fusion.

As an added bonus, the avocado is another way to add Vitamin C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. It surely packs a nutritional punch.

This is the final recipe for Avocado Norwaldorf Salad

Serves approximately 2 people

  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1/2 cup Fresh walnuts
  • 1 -2 red apples – I used a Royal Gala variety
  • 1-2 green apples – such as a Granny Smith
  • Fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 1/3 cup Dill Pickles, roughly chopped
  • Jarslberg cheese, cubed – amount depending on personal preference
  • Mayonnaise to cover
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard or Dijonnaise
  • Dill sprigs for garnish
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and diced into large chunks
  • Squeeze of Lemon juice (optional)
  • Seasoning to taste

Mix ingredients together, adding Avocado last.

Serve with:

Camembert cheese wedges on a bed of Spinach/Kale/Lettuce

Enjoy! Healthy, tasty and definitely worth a second look.

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