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Mind Control Methods - Active Thought Distraction  E-mail

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The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

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How to maintain No Contact - Controlling your mind


In the beginning of the separation process it is natural that the thoughts of one's partner enter one's mind on daily basis. It is almost impossible to block these thoughts. The thoughts of one's partner cause severe pain because they are now associated with the sense of loss. When the images of your partner enter your mind, you immediately remember that you are now separated and that if you remain separated, you may never see your partner again. You loved your partner deeply and that love is still very much present in you. One cannot "shut down" love overnight. You need to accept that you will feel down and depressed for some time before you start to feel better. It helps when you know what to expect from the following days and weeks. You can greatly influence your recovery speed with your own behavior.

Teaching your brain to interrupt the cycle of negative thoughts

During the separation process, the thoughts of your spouse enter your mind on regular basis, whether you like it or not. If these thoughts come, let them come. Do not try to suppress the thoughts related to your former spouse, but do not hold on to them and strengthen them either.

If you see a couple holding hands, it is natural that the pain enters your mind and you immediately remember your spouse. You cannot avoid this unpleasant feeling during the first days and weeks after the separation. But you can choose what happens after negative thoughts enter your mind.

People react to emotional pain in different ways. If you are a smoker, when an unpleasant thought enters your mind you might immediately reach for a cigarette or you might seek relief from alcohol or from drugs. This can help you momentarily, but in a long run it will not help you to heal.

Active Thought Distraction

The best thing to do when unpleasant thoughts enter your mind is to activate other areas in your brain (areas that are not related to those painful thoughts). By doing this you are not only relieving your immediate pain but you are also preventing neuronal networks related to the memory of your spouse from becoming stronger.

If you see a couple holding hands and you feel painful thought entering your mind, start to look around and tell yourself what you see around you. "Speak" to yourself in your mind. If you see cars, tell yourself what kinds of cars you see. If you see houses, tell yourself what kinds of houses you see and whether you like them or not. Do not do this exercise by using humans as the targets of your attention. The aim is to increase the activation in those areas in your brain that are related to processing of something totally different than your spouse. Your spouse is human (even though there might be times you have doubted that) and if you are attending humans while trying to avoid painful thoughts related to your spouse, you are still very close to activating same networks that are related to your spouse.

When you are actively thinking of something else, you are literally controlling the way your brain works at that moment. You cannot block the thoughts of your spouse completely, but you can significantly decrease the intensity of the pain you feel when those thoughts enter your mind. If you are targeting your attention elsewhere, the activity in the neuronal network that is related to the painful memories of your spouse decreases. Try this method and you will see how well it works. The thoughts of your spouse are still somewhere in the back of your mind, but the intensity of the pain related to those thoughts has decreased when compared to how you would feel if you did not do this exercise.

You can experiment with this exercise by examining how you feel when painful thoughts related to your spouse enter your mind and you are not actively directing your attention elsewhere as opposed to how you feel when you immediately turn your attention elsewhere.

It is very effective to use inanimate objects such as cars or houses as targets of your attention while doing this exercise, instead of engaging to some mental task such as trying to memorize the phone number of your first cell phone etc. The reason for this is that it is very demanding task for the brain to actively observe environment, analyze the information it receives and constantly shift the focus of attention from one location to another. If you are doing a task "inside your head", closing external environment away, it is harder to block painful thoughts related to your spouse, because it is harder to stay focused on your task. Your thoughts might easily start to drift away and return back to your spouse. It is much easier to force your attention to focus on an external target than on an internal, mental "target". Try these two different approaches (performing a mental task vs. observing your environment) when painful thoughts related to your spouse enter your mind and you will see the difference.

OBS! When you are using "observe inanimate objects"-method to distract your thoughts, it is very important that you simultaneously "talk" to yourself mentally and tell yourself what you see, for example in this fashion: "That is a nice building, it seems to be made of stone, I like the color of the walls, but the windows are quite small, and those balconies could be bigger..." etc. If you are talking to yourself "mentally" your brain is using more attentional resources than it would use if you are only looking at the house, without talking to yourself mentally. This is the reason why so-called "mental talk" is very important part of the active thought distraction method.

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Comments (3)
  • E. King  - Healing After Cheating, Learn to control your emot
    I wish sincerely, to recommend the book by Maria with the Title:
    Healing after cheating: learn to control your emotions.
    Methods for forgetting the memory of cheating.

    2 years ago, I went through severe depression after my husband cheated me for 3 years with someone who is well known as a woman
    who committed her own infidelity with different men even when her
    husband was sick. She is the complete opposite of me, uneducated,
    and crude in her mannerism well know to the small circle of Asian ethnicity. I was overseas because of my husband's abuse mentally and verbally for many years. During my absence, he goes overseas to see me always with a very brief visit to tell me he cares for me (35 years of marriage) and after I completely my projects I must return home.

    It was unfortunate that I trusted him thinking that my absence
    might be better for a marriage, not even suspecting he was with the woman for almost 3 years. Even upon my return to settle my marriage problems, he still sees her every weekend and holidays and took off to go away for a week to 2 weeks and told me he will return....and that he loves me.

    I do not wish to repeat my story in detail, it still hurts. However,
    Maria's book has been supporting my deeply sad and lonely days with
    kind and thoughtful and true meanings that I do wish to thank you
    for the book and I wish to recommend some of us must have it
    by our side to sooth and encourage us to understand why such
    ugly things happens to all of us good and devoted women.

    To all the dear ladies with unfortunate stories to tell, keep your
    mind calm, and continue reading this Blog. I still do. We will all get through our ordeal, how impossible it is when you are in the middle
    of nowhere. Warm regards to Maria and all of you out there. E.K
  • Kelly  - The other woman.....
    I must say I am absolutely floored by what I have read over the last 30 minutes of being on this website. I thought it was only me!! I thought I was the only one in this situation on manipulation with my husband.

    The reason why I titled this the other woman was because I was the other woman. I meet my husband 12 years ago when I was merely 22 years old. He was married and to be honest I could stand him. However the more I was around him he had a very strong personality that made me fall in love with him. He appeared to be just what I wanted in a man. So I took the back seat and became the other woman. This didnt last long as the love I was seeking from a true relationship I wasn't getting. So I went on my search for Mr. Right. Well even though he was married he didn't like that very much and he decided to tell me he would leave his wife for me. So I believed him however he always had an excuse for why he hadn't left her yet. Eventually he moved in with me and his wife said she was okay with that. Well I wasn't and after a couple years I said enough and decided I would leave the relationship. Well again he drew me back in with empty promises. Need I say that during this time he became physically abusive to me. Nonetheless, I wasn't the only woman he was cheating on his wife with I was just one of the 40 over the previous 20 year marriage. I always believed he would change for me and eventually he did divorce his wife and the emotional tear down got worse. Now it wasn't just physical but emotional and God forbid if I didn't give him what he wanted when he wanted it. Unfortunately, I married him last year and really have had enough. I can't take it anymore we have two children together and they are learning these behaviors. I recently filed for divorce and feel liberated yet he is still trying to contact me even though I have changed my phone number and have a restraining order against him. His messages are so demeaning. I begin to feel that the problems are all my fault. Then I talk to myself and know that, that isn't true. I just wish I knew then what I know now. I really would have ran the other way. I guess this will be another learning experience and somewhere down the road I will be able to help someone else who may be in this same situation. I pray for the strength daily and this is a one day at a time process. My only problem is maintaining my safety and the safety of my children. I dread coming home because he has been known to creep around the house and known be sit outside the house watching. It feels like someone is taunting me because when and if I call the police he will be gone before they get here any way. I truly appreciate your website and pray for each women that has had to deal with or will deal with a similar situation.
  • Kari
    What a powerful story! I'm praying for you and your family.
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