DO YOU KEEP REPLAYING UPSETTING EXPERIENCES OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
You’ve fallen out with a friend/family member, or colleagues made some hurtful comments at work. Instead of shrugging your shoulders and forgetting about it, you keep replaying it in your mind, analysing it and continuing the conversation in your imagination. You feel mad, bad or sad and you just can’t let it go.
You sort of know that you will process it and come to terms with it eventually but you just feel compelled to keep reliving it and even deepening your pain. STOP.
Here is an easy, quick way to process that pain and neutralise the negative emotions around the incident. You’re already reliving that movie in your mind’s eye, in your imagination. So let’s do that in a more beneficial way. Try it!
You are going to see/imagine that inner movie play out one more time, but making sure that the first scene is a positive one, before the incident began and the last scene is another positive one, after the incident was over. It doesn’t matter how far away in time these positive scenes are from the actual negative incident, as long as all is well in these beginning and end frames.
Watch the incident play out one more time in your mind’s eye, with the positive frames inserted at the beginning and end. That is the last time you play that movie.
The next step is to reverse the movie in your imagination, as if you are rewinding a video on a computer or television screen. Start at the positive scene at the end and see it all in reverse, going all the way back to the positive scene at the beginning. See the people walking backwards and hear the garbled speech. It only takes a few seconds on a fast rewind but you can see all the elements of the experience.
Jump to the end scene again and keep repeating the rewind as many times as you need until you no longer feel the upsetting emotion. Notice if you have any new perspectives on the experience too. It could take 5, or 25, or many more rewinds, depending on the severity of the incident. This technique is even effective for trauma.
To help track your progress, you could give your initial level of upset a score from 1 to 10, where 10 is excruciating and 0 is not bothered. You are aiming to reduce it to zero. You will know in some cases however that a 1 or 2 is right for you and that’s fine. Check your score as you go, after a few rewinds.
As you continue to repeat rewinds, make the scenes become black and white, grey, fuzzy. If scenes seem to go missing, that’s fine, don’t try to remember them. If you get bored with the whole thing and can’t remember why you were bothered. That’s good. You’re done.
You can take it a step further if you like. This might seem ridiculous and unrealistic…. but it works at the level of the subconscious mind to boost your confidence. You are the Film Director of the movie of your life and you get to replace that segment of time with a different movie. Script a new movie in which the event went exactly as you wish it had gone. Maybe you responded differently, or something completely different happened. Play it in your mind’s eye in high definition and vibrant colours. Edit it and improve on it until you are happy with it. Enjoy.
Let me know in the comments how you got on, or if you have questions. I will expand on this technique as a way to heal the root cause of a problem in a future blog.