Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Haunted by Repetitive Thoughts? How to Beat the Demons of the Mind

(Above: I reuse everything and adore using elements of nature to give me peace at home. The runner is nothing more than bamboo plant stakes cut down and hot glued together. The vase--came with a bouquet of flowers. The rocks in the vase and limbs--from the yard.)

It dawned on me one morning when I went to work (mind you, my going to work involves stepping into my guest bedroom in my home), when I sat down and sighed. Another day of the same old, same old, typing up medical reports. Blah Blah Blah. Then, I realized as I began my ritual of sipping coffee while doing updates and emails, that the same thought pattern ran through my head every morning. For some bizarre reason, I recalled a camping trip from long ago, then go on to think about someone I haven’t talked to for years, then wondered about when to do the laundry. I went through this every morning like Pavlov's dogs salivating. I sat at my desk, the same series of thoughts entered...

Not only was my routine the same, my thought patterns were too!

The mind literally gets trained to do the same things in the same manner and that includes intrusive thoughts, as well. We got into a kind of autopilot to multitask or to do the same boring routine every day. I know this from working with phobic’s and I understand how they can get set in their OCD pattern of making associations where none should exist. Once that link is made, the mind replays it on autopilot. It becomes the responsibility of the owner of the repetitive brain to stop and question why it’s necessary to repeat the pattern and if it has any validity in the first place. Then, to eliminate cues that start that pattern again and again.

The same can be said for your home in relation to paranormal activity. Once a routine is established, it can go on and on and on unchecked. The habits of the mind and where it compartmentalizes thoughts is very similar to a home and how the rooms contain and hold energy and memories.

A change of routine is usually warranted.

To stop the patterned thoughts when going to work, I had to change the routine. Instead of doing emails while I began my work, I saved them for the end of my shift. Instead of having coffee at my desk, I made myself sit down and take a break to enjoy the coffee. I actually tasted it too which I wouldn’t be able to do while busy typing. I arranged my work area so that there is so much visual stimulation that I can’t get caught staring at the same spot on the wall and thinking the same thoughts. I made a giant collage on a huge canvas by printing out photos from my lifetime of growing up and becoming a mom and things I’ve accomplished. I tore the pictures edges into strange shapes and decoupaged them onto the canvas and coated it in an ochre stain to make it look aged. The result is many dozens of photos that remind of me of new thoughts and distract my mind from the old patterned thoughts. This is healthy too because it's that very novelty of thoughts that gives you new ideas for your day and how to approach it. If you continue the same pattern, you create the same day. Growth and novelty go hand-in-hand. There’s also some art work hanging up that I love of cemeteries and the Green Man. Some magazine covers ripped out and hung up to inspire me with my workout routine. Quirky photos of family members and post-it love notes. In general, my ability to stay awake and stimulated during work and distracted from old thought patterns has changed considerably.

In fact, every day seems to be quite different now.

The same can be said for your home. A simple rearranging of the furnishings can change the mood you feel in the room. It seems like it would be impossible, but try it some time. The space around you when you’re seated, the angle at which you see the light, a new view of a side of the room you normally neglect, all of this affects your mood. If you want a new point of view, you need a new point from which to view it.

I’m a freak about recycling, making things, and using what I have, so I’ve learned how to redo the entire house without using one cent. It’s a matter of taking your patterned thoughts out of your head, dusting off your mind, and coming up with new ways to use old things. I had a friend who had a wine rack and never drank wine. We rolled up her magazines and put them in the holes. Solved many issues; made a lovely piece and also inspired her to read more often than when the magazines were squirreled away on a closet floor “meaning to be read.”

The mind is just as orderly a thing as a computer. You waste storage space with non-important thoughts and create mind clutter that slows you down. You need to create complete order in your environment and get rid of the stuff you really don’t use, simplify, clear out, and have less clutter. When you do this, you not only attract positive energy in your own life because it’s easy to get things done fast, you have no housework taunting you, and you apply that organization to the rest of your life. You also benefit paranormal-wise, as well. Ghosts really don’t like orderly neat efficient spaces. It just doesn’t happen.

Perhaps the act of clearing your head and clearing your house clears the stagnant chi. Whatever the reason, changing things up is a good routine for your brain’s stimulation and to motivate you to take on new tasks.

After all, reinventing yourself and your environment go hand in hand.


  1. wow, this is so interesting. i'll have to check my thought pattern now. i know one thing about them and that's that they're negative. You know, like, i'm so tired, i wish i could stay in bed and then dreading the chores ahead of me. this i know i do every morning. i'll first work on having positive thoughts.
    thanks for the post, as always very interesting.

  2. Marbella;
    I used to run a group for people with anxiety disorders and I learned an awful lot writing articles and giving lectures about the subject. A person's self explanatory style makes his view of the world. If he thinks of things as a burden or obligation, he feels resentment. If he thinks of things as unfair, he feels anger. It's really in the attitude. I approach the chores in my life and tasks that have to be done as forward energy. Forward energy means I'm active and in control of my life, getting things done, having something to show for my time, and am allowed the guilt-free reward of relaxing later. I consider the calories burned, the happy clean environment to work in, and not having chores hanging over my head as rewards for doing things asap. If I sing or dance while doing housework, even better. I've found that in general people who look at what's wrong with something (negative) generally come from a place of helplessness. They feel like everything won't turn out in the end, so what's the use (a way to avoid doing things and taking control). So, the key to becoming positive is to see tasks like tally marks on a board and badges of accomplishment, then no task is too menial, no job unnoticed. If you look for what's right about things, how fast or efficient you did something, how great it feels to be liberated of that chore, then you feel a sense of accomplishment and power. It's the same I've found with dieting. You can either sit back and complain about all the ways extra pounds ruin your life and feel helpless OR you take utter control of yourself and reap the rewards of empowerment and credit for what you've done (like Biggest Loser folks). My motto that I have to drill into my head (I think all females do) is "no self pity." When I feel "why me?" "poor me?" etcetera, I know I'm coming from a place of helplessness, basically saying "why isn't the world providing for me?" Like being a helpless kid at the whim of her parents' decision making. It's a constant battle but one worth fighting. I had one of those negative mom's who liked to say "you can'd to that," "that can't be done," and "it won't make any difference." When I heard myself starting to use that dialogue, I drew up a sketch of a nasty lady with a tight bun and beady eyes. I named her "Mrs. Beswith" and whenever I was getting negative, I imagined Mrs. Beswith waving her finger at me, all uptight and negative, and I laughed and did the opposite like a rebellious kid. Later, I looked at the sketch of Mrs. Beswith closely and realized it was my mother's face! My favorite example is the show "Seinfeld" when George Costanza decided to start doing the exact opposite of what he normally did and his life suddenly was incredibly great...I love that example. It makes me stop and think and go against my first kneejerk decision. Try it some time. It's pretty weird how it works.

  3. That happens to me regularly since I do a lot of repetitive action while posting in my blogs.

    I try never to do the same thing the same way or I change the order in the way I do them.

    Oh, and let me tell you how much fun such things are during menopause. Enhance those experiences 50 fold. :)

    The brain, she is a funny duck.

  4. Great article Autumnforest as always-I agree with the other commenters with a lot of what they said also-I have OCD pretty bad-although hardly to the level that it destroys my life like it does with some people-and I notice doing "repetitive" and "ritual" type things all the time-there is no telling how much energy I expend needlessly doing these things! It is nice to know-but not actually "nice" to the people it is happening to-that others suffer from anxiety disorders and panic attacks -between you and me and one other man-whose blog I love but my bloglist won't let me add for some reason -that is three people right there who have gone through and continue to go through this stuff-I am on Xanax-but would highly encourage anyone about to be put on it that if there is a way at all to stay away from it-please do!! I am going to ask the doc next time I go if there is any other therapy out there at all to stop using these damn things-I don't want another pill-just physical stuff like breathing routines or something I have heard of-all the best to you as always!!

  5. Devin;
    I used to counsel folks, I recovered from panic attacks within six months' time. It's actually the very EASIEST and most permanent issue to recover from. Extremely treatable. It's a sin anyone suffers from it anymore. One of my dear friends started having them last Xmas and by late spring she was over it and now she's a person I don't even recognize. When you get the right tools, you beat that beast into the ground and you truly feel like nothing in the entire world could ever scare you like that, you've faced the worst fear, your own mind. You're on the right track with talking to your doc. You should be getting cognitive-behavioral therapy or also known as rational emotive therapy which is based on the book "The New Guide to Rational Living" by Albert Ellis. It's dry reading but a better more easy to follow version is "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns. That's the "bible" I used to help folks in the self-help group. Practically wore the pages out and use the lessons in there every day to make me a healthy and happy person. The premise is simple: You can't have an emotion without first having a thought. You take four people with a flat tire and you'll get four different emotions, depending on whether they're scared of that part of town, in a rush to get to work, or just bought a new jack and never got to change a tire before (fear, anger, and excitement). That being said, you ever want a little guidance, I'm at and we can talk privately about that stuff. I've helped a lot of people. I may not be an official counselor, but I have more knowledge than most of the ones I saw the first few weeks! Hee hee :-)

  6. Thanks Autumn, you are so right. You know I already know this stuff I just to put it in practice. Thanks so much for the reminder.
    After reading yours and Devin's comment, I have to tell you that I suffered with anxiety disorder then panic disorder and then agoraphobia as a result of the panic attacks for a few years. I tried everyting, nothing worked. I finally found a doctor that helped me. I'm not 100% back to normal, but I can function a whole lot better now.

  7. Sandra;
    I'm so thrilled when I hear people do find their way through anxiety disorders. They are really quite easily and permanently treatable so there's no need to suffer. It's really a matter of taking control of your brain and show it who's boss. Since learning the right techniques, I have logical emotions. That sounds probably pretty weird, but my emotions are in proportion to what is happening and not what I think something symbolizes to me. Instead of thinking "this is the end of the world, I'll never be happy again" which would result in an overwhelming depressive feeling, I think things like "this has happened before, I recovered just fine and went on with life, I'll do it again." It really is in what you tell yourself. It's probably way off of the topic of ghost hunting theories, but I wouldn't mind at all doing a few posts regarding dealing with anxiety and panic. The first time I sat through a panic attack and observed it instead of jumping and running (first time I called 9-1-1, I had no idea what it was), I realized that it crests like an orgasm and then dissipates. You don't die. You don't go crazy. So, when I realized it had no teeth, I was able to sit through the symptoms without a feeling of needing to get help. Then, eventually, In never got another one again--it's like my body realized this technique doesn't get my attention. I had my last panic attack in 1990! I think I'd really like to do the topic of panic some time. Thanks for the inspiring idea. Let me know if you ever need support. I've been a support person for dozens of folks on the subject.

  8. Thanks so much for your supportive words!