Thought Attacks That Cause Heart Attacks (and drive performance into the ground)

By Don Goeway

Mark Twain once said, “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” I call this “Thought Attacks.” Thoughts attacks are fearful thoughts that, when believed, escalate into negative emotions that produce perceptions of threats, often when no real threat is present. It is the reactive mind that repeatedly mistakes a stick for a snake.

Most of us generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads. These “stress events” produce wildly strong emotions that provoke our bodies into an accompanying uproar. And it’s all linked to mere thought. Thought attacks are the origin of stress provoking behaviors called Type-A, and the Type-A profile is directly correlated with heart attacks. This intense and often unconscious pattern of thinking also causes stress hormones to flood the brain, debilitating higher order neural circuits. These networks generate key executive functions such as problem solving, creativity, error detection, memory and learning. They also produce the empathy, intuition and interpersonal resonance for effective leadership and teamwork. The fact is, a brain under stress is incapable of sustaining peak performance or securing the emotional and social resilience to persevere toward success. We simply can’t afford the price of stressful thoughts.

Keeping You At The Top Of Your Game

In my book Mystic Cool, I provide three proven approaches to quieting thought attacks. These tools offer a simple, on-the-spot intercession that adds nothing to your to-do list. Each tool works by increasing awareness, which is most of the battle in transcending stress. Practice even one of these exercises over two weeks and you will start to recover the emotional calm, mental clarity, and physical energy that sustains you at the top of your game.

At first, it may feel distressing to face the stream of negativity the unconscious mind is capable of generating. But as you make the content conscious you begin to recognize toxic thoughts for what they are: stressful delusions. Soon, you will begin to laugh at the very thoughts that used to punish you. Eventually, you stop thinking this way. Below is a description of each process. Click-on here to download all three tools.

Tool #1. Transcending the Background Negativity: This process involves becoming aware, as much as possible, of the negative feelings and thoughts your mind generates. Each time you are aware of a negative thought or feeling, you tell yourself “this stressful thought or this pessimistic feeling is in me, not in reality.” You remind yourself that you have the power to let it go — by not believing it.

Tool #2. The Clear Button: Most stress reactions begin with fearful or toxic thinking. If we collapse the thought pattern before it proliferates, we can thwart most stress reactions. The Clear Button is a proven way to do that.

Tool #3. Refuting the Critical Voice: We can transcend the “critic within” by refuting the negative, generally overstated, and tacitly unfair judgments the negative ego flings at us.

© 2009, Don Joseph Goewey

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