I bet you sometimes feel stressed, afraid, overwhelmed and even frustrated at times. The reason? There are plenty; the dog, the kids, the boss and even the sun shining in your face.
These negative thoughts and emotions, if not taken care of, can become so overwhelming that you can start to sink.
I can certainly relate.
I have also had my challenges and I am sure I will have plenty more as long as I am breathing.
From an early age, I became interested in finding ways to alleviate and even leverage the hard times of my life. I began reading relevant literature and started to implement some of the ideas that stuck out to me. Some ideas worked, others didn’t but the more I tested new ideas the better I became.
In this article, you will learn about a technique I have used successfully to deal with any negative thoughts or emotion. The best part? You can apply it virtually anywhere. It is very practical and easy to use. You don’t need special clothes, books or even a coach to do it. It is very simple and effective.
I. Where did this technique come from?
A couple of months ago I read the book “The Art of Learning” by Josh Waitzkin. With its help I came up with the idea of this technique. In this book, which I highly recommend to anyone, I found so many great lessons that I read the book twice in two weeks.
I took plenty of notes and even after that I couldn’t get enough.
One lesson, in particular, made a great impression on me. The lesson was, “If you avoid your thoughts, they will come back stronger”. In the book, the author explains how he learned this lesson the “hard” way during a very important chess match. At the most intensive part of it, the author was deeply concentrated trying to figure out a strategy to beat his opponent until a familiar song came to his mind and made it harder for him to concentrate.
He decided to avoid the song and try to concentrate as much as possible. No matter what he did the song became louder in his head. The author had this experience a number of times more until he came to a breakthrough. In a similar match, he faced the same challenge but this time, instead of avoiding the song, the author decided to use the chatter in his mind to his own advantage.
What he did was to adjust his thoughts to the rhythm of the song. The result? He restored his total concentration and he never had an issue like that again.
II. The Birth of the hugging technique
Feeling inspired by this story I decided to use this idea.
I thought to myself “I can use this concept to deal with negative thoughts”.
The idea of welcoming the bad as we welcome the good in our lives is a wonderful way to adapt to whatever life brings to us.
Please take a second to think for a moment. Can you remember trying to avoid or getting rid of a thought in your mind but you found yourself powerless because the thought kept coming stronger and more insisting on taking over your attention? I would also suggest that eventually, you found that the moment you stopped trying to “clean” your mind from this thought, it lost its power.
III. The Law of Non- Resistance
In other words, you witnessed the law of non-resistance that states “Whatever you resist it will persist”.
Whatever we avoid causes the greatest discomfort. If we can only understand that the only way to overcome challenges is to accept them instead of avoiding them, the faster the process of going through the discomfort will be.
Using the ideas from “The Art of Learning ” and the Law of non-resistance, I decided to visualize how I “hug” what I associate in my mind as negative.
By “hugging” the discomfort I symbolically welcome it into my mind and believe it or not when I do this I stop resisting the discomfort and I become more comfortable with the fact that it is there. Once I feel comfortable being uncomfortable I am able to assess the situation from a neutral perspective which enables me to take better decisions and end my suffering quicker.
The more intensive the discomfort, the harder I visualize how I “hug” and accept the negativity. You might want to ask me “What do you actually imagine hugging?” Well, it depends on the situation. If a person makes me feel uncomfortable I imagine hugging the person, if it’s a situation, I imagine how I simply open my arms and say sincerely “thank you” or I could hug anyone connected with the creation of my discomfort.
Sometimes I even visualize how I hug myself. Just visualizing yourself being in the process of hugging works pretty well.
IV. Are you doubtful?
Some of you might be doubting this idea but let me ask you something.
Do you like to hug your closest friends, family members or to be hugged by them? Do you enjoy putting your arms around a person who causes your happiness?
I suppose yes.
There is one important thing that you must consider:
Hugging is a symbol of appreciation and acceptance.
Normally, when we forgive someone, we hug each other as a sign of acceptance and forgiveness.
Since, historically, we hug each other for ages, our brains have developed the habit to associate hugging only with positivity.
Since our brains associate hugging with love, acceptance, forgiveness and happiness we can experience the same emotions when we visualize hugging someone.
If we visualize well, it will feel as if we are hugging this person in reality.
Instantaneously, the hormones responsible for positive emotions will increase their percentage in our bodies and we will feel happier.
The same effect can be observed when we imagine that we “hug” someone or something that causes our discomfort.
V. Useful tips
Before you implement this technique let me give you some tips.
– First of all! You must believe that it can work for you.
-Secondly, please understand that life is happening for you and not to you, therefore every discomfort is an opportunity for you to become a better version of yourself.
– Last but not least, understand that the only way to lead a great life is by committing yourself to always take the “Right” decision. Not the decision society, your friends and family want you to take but the right decision that your gut/intuition tells you to take. In my experience, when I have to face and accept the challenge in front of me, my intuition always gives me the feeling that “This is the right decision”
My greatest hope is that you find this article helpful. If you are interested in more great content like this one check out my website Guided Meditation for you. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an e-mail. I will be glad to write you back.
My name is Nikolay Kolin, founder of guided-meditation-for-you.com, and my passion is personal development. Currently, I am a business student in Germany. Since my first year in High School I became interested in personal development and since then I consume every bit of information that can help me become a better person and achieve my dreams. I enjoy solving problems and I love being of service to anyone I can help with my knowledge and experience.