How To Get Rid Of Your Mental Mosquitoes
by Jean-Paul Cortés
(San José, Costa Rica)
After a very tiring day, you decide that it’s time to give in to a good night’s sleep.
You turn off the light. Settle into your bed. Close your eyes. And, as soon as you’re drifting off into slumber, you hear that awful noise in your ears…
Instinctively you flay out with your arms, swatting at the darkness, hoping to crush the little bugger and you wait, in the dark, listening, praying that perhaps it was nothing.
The sound makes you cower again. It was real. You still weren’t asleep and yet it was the beginning of a nightmare.
Yes, we’ve all gone through it. We’ve all cursed this foe hidden by the darkness. Many of us have gone insane, helplessly trying to find this maniacal creature that so brings us to tears.
I forget who it was that said that if you think you are too small to make a difference, then you should try sleeping with a mosquito in your room. And, of course this rings true for anyone that’s actually tried to sleep with one of these little insects flying around your head.
How You Literally Can’t Think About Anything Else
You can’t, can’t you? Forget about sleeping, there’s no getting any shut eye until you solve this huge little problem.
You’ll turn on the light. Stand on your bed. Clap at the air at the least sight of your enemy.
You wouldn’t think of giving up, now would you? After all, your good night’s rest depends on it.
There are plenty of people that go to bed each night with not one but many mosquitoes flying around their heads.
It’s these mental mosquitoes, what I call them, that are the real enemy. Because as you’ll see, there’s no getting rid of them unless you learn how to recognize how they work.
Your Mental Mosquitoes and How To Get Rid of Them
So what exactly is a mental mosquito? Well, they’re those annoying little thoughts that buzz around your mind, that if left unchecked can turn into big problems.
You see, thoughts tend to become things and because of this they end up shaping our reality in ways that are sometimes detrimental to our wellbeing.
It goes like this, we pick up a thought which we end up believing to be true, which in turn creates a belief, that are the basis of our reality. Beliefs are the substance of our reality, regardless of whether they are based on fact or, as in many cases, wrong information.
And, the thing is that we don’t often question our beliefs no matter how wrong they may be. Further, the point is not as much that we should change our beliefs but that we learn how to change those that aren’t beneficial into others that are helpful. That is the matter at hand.
How do you change beliefs? It’s actually easier than you might believe.
To learn how, we should give credit to the co-founder of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Richard Bandler. When Dr. Bandler found out how people like Milton Erickson and Virginia Satir were so successful in getting people to change, he eventually discovered how people build beliefs.
He saw through the supposed limitations we created for ourselves. He was keen on determining the underlying danger when we are told we are not good at something for example, in that we might end up believing it’s true.
He found that what's really effective in changing a belief, is to first find out the qualities of our beliefs. Let’s look at what he meant by this.
If I ask you if the Sun will set tomorrow, what will you answer? Undoubtedly your answer will be yes. However, to get to this answer, you have to do something inside to represent the Sun setting. It might be an image that you create in your mind's eye, or a voice that resounds in your head, or a feeling of some sort and it usually has a feeling of certainty that allows you to know this is true.
What we do inside is a guide to our behavior. It corresponds to the building blocks of beliefs. When I ask you if the Sun will set tomorrow, what you need to do is pay attention to what is going on inside. Where is the image located? Are there any sounds? Is there a voice that says yes? These are your beliefs of certainty, make sure to note them and play around with them to distinguish their qualities.
What you're going to do next is to think of something you're unsure of, something that may or may not happen. Note also the qualities of this thought, there will be differences between these and the thoughts of certainty. Compare the differences (it's specially important that you note the differences).
Further below you'll find a list of qualities of thought (it's taken from Richard Bandler's books, I cannot take credit for them). You should go down the list and note the differences between your thoughts of certainty and uncertainty, it will give you the key for changing your beliefs in the exercise that follows.
Swapping Your Beliefs
1. Think of a limiting belief you don't want to have anymore. Something that you believe
you've had your entire life, and don't believe you can change.
2. Think of a more beneficial belief you wish to have. For example that you are a happy,
resourceful, creative person.
3. Note the qualities of your thoughts of certainty and uncertainty that you have already
4. Imagine the limiting belief you want to get rid of flying off into the distance and clicking
into the qualities of uncertainty.
5. At the same time, imagine the beneficial thought flying off into the distance and clicking
into the qualities of certainty.
6. Mentally do this as fast as you can, over and over again a few times.
That's it! Easy, huh? You might not expect it, but what you've just accomplished is to train your brain to think a different way. I challenge you to put this strategy to the test. Do it with whatever limiting belief you think you have and start swapping them for beneficial beliefs.
Practice makes perfect, so give it a go.
Qualities of thought
Number of images
Color/Black and white
Location in space
Timbre (mood of sound)
Direction of voice
Location in body
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