When a loved one dies, it is traumatic. Trauma can often trigger what psychologists call a loose mind. A loose mind is when your thoughts run wild and you can not focus on one. These thoughts are often negative and create doubt, anxiety and lack of confidence. The pain of grief can be so overwhelming that your mind goes into a tailspin of negative loose thinking. It’s as if a cloud comes over your mind and you can not control what you are thinking or feeling. This type of loose thinking can turn into depression or anxiety that starts to affect daily life.
When we are going through hard times, emotions are at an all time high. It feels as though we do not have control of the negative thought patterns that continuously run through our mind. There have been many studies in neuroscience that show it is possible to take control over your thought life and in turn, change the outcome your response.
Taking Our Thoughts Captive
How can we take every thought captive to manage our emotions when it feels grief is out of control.
- The first step is to take a moment to identify what those feelings are: Sadness, hurt, anger
- Once we have acknowledged and identified the feelings we can go deeper and ask why I am feeling this way specifically. IE; I am angry because my husband died and left me to raise the kids on my own. And then we can deeper still to recognize that the anger is birthed out of fear. Fear of not being able to do it on your own.
- When the root of the feeling is identified we can then recognize the benefit and the impairment of that emotion. The benefit of fear is that it can motivate to improve our efforts or push us to ask for the help we may need. The impairment may be that it creates more anxiety and potential rage.
- Now that we are aware that each emotion has both an impairment and a benefit we can choose which we will allow to fill our minds.
I may say “I am afraid’ but now that I have gathered my thoughts I can say I choose to practice and prepare myself so that I know I can do what it is I am afraid of. I have taken my thoughts captive. There still may be sadness and pain but I get to choose how I respond to these feelings. The more awareness there is around your thought life, the easier it will be to respond to grief in a healthy way.