Have you ever found yourself all “up in your feelings?” Or how often do you feel angry, frustrated, depressed, or anxious? One of the most beneficial things you can do when emotions, thoughts, or feelings feel overwhelming is realize that two different things are happening at that moment of feeling overwhelmed. There is the thinking self and the observing self, and learning how to move from thinking to observing or noticing can be one of the most powerful tools to help you stay present and grounded even in the most challenging times. Tony discusses the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) principle of “self as context” and shares how this simple shift can make immediate and radical changes to your overall mood. Tony references a chapter from the Youth AOD Toolbox on “Self as Context.” You can find that chapter here https://www.youthaodtoolbox.org.au/h7-introducing-self-context
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Speaker1: [00:00:05] The. Come on in, take a seat.
Speaker2: [00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and ninety nine of the virtual couch. It is crazy to think that I am almost at 300 episodes of this podcast, but I am still your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified, mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to unhealthy things like pornography is a coping mechanism, so go to Pathbackrecovery.com. You can find out more there and thank you for a lot of the crossover folks. I know numbers have been going up on the virtual couch again, and it is because of the people that are coming here from my new podcast, Waking Up to Narcissism, which is 14 episodes in and in 14 episodes, it's already pulling in numbers that it took probably a couple of hundred episodes of the virtual couch, too. So I know there is such a need there and it is a very specific type of podcast. But if you haven't checked that out, please Joe, go check out waking up the narcissism wherever you get your podcasts. But let's let's get to the topic today why I am talking about self as context, and that was a very awkward sentence to begin. But last week's episode, I talked about why I actually trying to pursue happiness or almost force happiness can backfire.
Speaker2: [00:01:35] And I went over these six principles of acceptance and commitment therapy. My favorite therapeutic modality, and the one that I actually got the most feedback on was one of the principles there called self as context. And it really is a fascinating concept, and it's one that I recognized as people were bringing that to my attention through emails and some client sessions that it's one that I rely on more than I thought more than I was aware. So I wanted to do a specific episode where I talk a little bit more about self as context, and it is a very, very powerful therapeutic modality that you can practice right now. And I hope by the end of the this podcast today, you'll have some new tools and you can practice this throughout the coming weeks the holidays. Because as things continue to amp up around any stressful event, whether it's a holiday, a birthday, a test, any of those sort of things, I want you to. I want you to recognize what's actually happening in your body. You are the the nicest kind of person that you are going about your day, going about your business. And then when certain things happen, then you start to feel a certain way. You may feel stressed, you might feel angry, you might feel lonely, you might feel confused, you might feel frustrated. But those are just feelings or emotions that settle upon you based on certain circumstances.
Speaker2: [00:02:48] And I'm not trying to dismiss the feelings or thoughts that you have, but for the most part, you are you. I am Tony. And there will be times, maybe, let's say, that a tax deadline is creeping up or a writing deadline is coming up, or it's a time where I have not prepared as well for a podcast, and I may notice that I am stressed or I may notice that I am frustrated. And in the past where I might have internalized that more and felt like the old What's wrong with me story, I'm so frustrated, I'm so angry. But now I just noticed that I'm feeling angry, like check that out, or I notice that I'm feeling stressed because when you can really step outside of what is going in your thoughts and your mind, even in your life, at times when you can step back and take a look at those things with a little bit more peace, a little bit more calm, you're going to have a much more productive way to deal with whatever those stressors are. And you can start to look. And let's take, for example, that the mornings where I have not prepared podcasts and my one goal is consistency, getting a podcast out every week, and perhaps I haven't I haven't come up with a topic. I'm coming close to a deadline when I really need to start recording. I will absolutely start to feel nervous or I will start to feel imposter syndrome where I start to feel frustrated or worried, and I am able to take a look at those that worry or that stress.
Speaker2: [00:04:02] And of course, I'm going to feel that way because I have a goal of getting a podcast out weekly and I have not had some sort of epiphany or a topic come to mind. And so if I didn't feel stressed or worried, that would actually be bored. So it is that stress or worry that at times is very motivating to me. So my brain's going to start heading me down this path of stress or worry and hopes that it's going to get something going, that it's going to get the brain working toward some resolution, some way to find a podcast topic that I can use to record. And so the key to that is being able to notice to be able to take a step back again, view yourself as context. And so I turn to this website to give a little bit more clarification on this. It's a really interesting one. It's called a youth aid toolbox. Org And they have a lot of different therapeutic models. And so I found that they actually had a whole section on acceptance and commitment therapy, and I loved this. This is a section they had on introducing self as context. And so they talk about those spiritual traditions and western psychology.
Speaker2: [00:05:07] Recognize that there are two different, distinct components of the mind. And I really love the way this is broken down the thinking mind and the observing mind. And I feel like that is about as deep as I want to get into that the thinking mind and the observing mind. Then people go a little bit deeper and they talk about the thinking self and the observing self. And then in act, people get a little bit more technical and refer to the thinking self as the conceptualized self or in that sort of thing. But I think we want to stick with that. We have the thinking mind and the observing mind or the thinking self and the observing self. And I think that those are probably the easiest concepts to deal with. So most of the time we are fully inhabit inhabiting thinking self that we recognize that we are thinking thoughts, we're thinking things consistently throughout the day. And so we are pretty aware with that part of us. We experience and we identify with the part of us that is always thinking that we're always generating thoughts. And in those thoughts come judgments, or we may pull out memories or we may have fantasies. Or maybe I love how they say, exploring options or maybe hatching plans, but we are constantly thinking so we have that thinking self that is happening to us throughout the day.
Speaker2: [00:06:15] At any moment, if you really stop, you can typically check out what you're thinking. And while we are very familiar with the thinking self, there is another aspect of us that is aware that whatever we are thinking or feeling or sensing that those are just things that we are doing in that moment. So again, you have this thinking self and then you have the observing self. So the observing self is what is taking a look at the thinking self. And I hope that that makes sense. Some traditions call it this pure awareness, but in act, the technical term to refer to this is self as context with clients. Oftentimes, you can talk about self as context, but really, I want to take a look at that and call it the observing self. So again, thinking self, you are thinking thoughts and experiences. And I love again what they're saying exploring options and hatching out plans and having fantasies and retrieving memories and making judgments. That is the thinking self. Your thinking self is going on all the time, whether you are aware of it or not. And then there is the observing self. The observing self is. Then when you recognize that you're thinking being able to take a look at what you're thinking and the key, the concepts that we are talking about here, though, is that so the self in context, it's simply a viewpoint where we can observe our thoughts and our feelings.
Speaker2: [00:07:30] And it's this psychological space in which those thoughts and feelings can move. And it is a it's a place where we can observe our experiences without being caught up in them. And so we access this psychological space by noticing that we are noticing our thoughts and our feelings, and we're becoming conscious of our consciousness. And this is the part where I start to feel like I may start to lose people a little bit because I never thought I would be the guy talking about becoming conscious with our consciousness. So let's just take. Let's just take a step back and let me give you some examples. One of the keys here is being able to notice things like stress or notice things like worry or notice things like a lack of productivity. One of the one of the places where I see this the most in my own life is like this morning. I came into my office at some Monday morning and I came in really early and I have some emails and I need to take care of. I actually do have some end of year tax things that I need to address. I need to plan out the the week. I need to get the podcast topics together for this or waking up the narcissism. And I have a couple of guest appearances on podcasts later this week and I have an interview with someone as well.
Speaker2: [00:08:35] So I start to put together my day and what the day is going to look like and what I can best do with the two or three hours before clients come in this morning. And then suddenly I notice that I am watching clips from this weekend's Saturday Night Live on YouTube, and it may sound like I am pretending that I was completely aware, but no, absolutely. I made a conscious choice when I pulled up my computer, and then I almost habitually click toward a few tabs. One of them was on YouTube, and then I noticed that there were some in the home page or my home page of YouTube. There were clips that looked funny and I did not watch Saturday Night Live, and I am a kid who grew up in the eighties and nineties, and that is it's in my bones. Even when this the show wasn't as fun or exciting as I would like. So I noticed I watch a clip, I notice I watch another clip, and at that point then I recognize I am noticing that I am watching this instead of doing the things that I need to do. And so I don't beat myself up. I don't give myself a bad time. I don't think what's wrong with me, but it is. I'm noticing, I'm noticing that I'm watching that. And then I even am starting to recognize the feelings of frustration because I have other things that are going on and all of this is happening.
Speaker2: [00:09:45] I feel like just below the surface, it's a subconscious feeling or subconscious vibe of just noticing that I'm not doing what I wanted to be doing. And so without judgment, it's just starting to slowly move over and start to do the things that are more helpful or more productive. And it does take a practice, but the power in noticing that you are doing something or observing yourself, doing something or thinking something is the ease at which you can start to move into things that are more productive. Too often we've got ourselves convinced that we have to get mad at ourselves or we do. We think though what's wrong with me story and our own brains and we think that that is what is going to motivate us. But if that was the motivation that worked, then we would all as a society be pretty spot on or close to perfect because we're really good at beating ourselves up and we're really good about thinking, what's wrong with me? But the thing that we don't do is often is to view ourselves in the context of the given moment that check me out, I'm thinking this, or I'm doing this, or I'm watching this. And when I noticed that, just think, Well, that's interesting, and now I'm going to shift over to something that's more productive.
Speaker2: [00:10:48] So the goal really here is practicing self as context is a really good way to facilitate diffusion. And what is diffusion diffusion, again, is one of these really powerful tools of acceptance and commitment therapy. What diffusion is diffusion helps you see the true nature of your thoughts that they are nothing more than words or pictures, and then respond to those thoughts in terms of workability or productivity. That, yeah, those are thoughts. Those are feelings. Those are emotions. But are they productive or are they workable to what you are trying to accomplish in your life? We're not even arguing how true a thought or a feeling is, but are they productive? Are they helpful for what your goal is, whatever your goal is in life? If not, then it is really powerful to be able to diffuse from those thoughts or feelings because we too often become fuzed to them, literally like locked in and believe every bit of those thoughts or feelings or emotions as if our life depends on it. And there are really there's three main techniques to trying to diffuse from thoughts, and I've talked about these on some podcasts in the past. I think it's always important to go over the concept of diffusion as well with diffusion. You're asking I'm typically asking a client to just notice your thoughts, and it can be framed in a lot of different ways. I always say, what's the story that your brain is telling you? Or people will say, What is your mind telling you now? Or What are the thoughts that are in your head or in the moment? Or what does your thinking self have to say about that? And it's just a way to just notice what are the stories or what are the things that my brain is telling me right now? And then you're just asking people to look at the workability of that thought.
Speaker2: [00:12:17] So is that a helpful thought? Or if you hold tightly to it, does it help you deal with the situation effectively? Does it get you where you really want to go? And if you do lean into that thought and you go with where it's going to tell you, does it get you a good result? Does it get you toward some sort of value based goal? One of the simple examples that I give often is just this idea of hearing somebody talk about running. I talk about running often, and I will have people say that they will feel somewhat motivated by hearing me talk about running, and they might even think I am going to run a marathon. And it is so amazing to watch the way the brain works. If somebody hasn't done something like a marathon or a half marathon and they hear somebody else talk about it, it can really get them motivated. And then they may even say, I'm doing it, I'm running a marathon, and their brain will literally give them a little bump of dopamine, and that dopamine will feel good.
Speaker2: [00:13:00] But then right then the brain will then start to come up with these stories. And these stories are things like you aren't even sure how to start training. Or maybe you've heard that running will be difficult on your knees, or you may not even know where marathons are or they may not be. There might not be any that are close to you. And so all of these are just stories that your brain is starting to just toss up and you're just starting to look at these stories and your brain's trying to get you to hook or Fuze to one of these stories. Because if it will get you to buy into one of these stories, then it doesn't have to go and do this brand new thing. This thing that might be scary, this thing that might put you in danger according to your brain, or it might it might cause you to have a potential for not completing the task, which then you would feel even worse about. So your brain's wired to protect you. So it's going to try to get you caught up in any of these type of stories. I call them yabba. It's a lot of time where your brain says, Well, yeah, but. And so it's a perfectly normal thing that when you start to think I want to do something, then you get that little bump of, Yeah, this feels good, and then your brain is going to come up with a lot of different stories to try to get you back to just the path of least resistance that we'll do it later.
Speaker2: [00:14:08] We'll do it tomorrow. And those are just stories or thoughts or just things that your brain is trying to get you to pay attention to. And so with diffusion, we really are looking at that. Is that a helpful thought? And again, we're not even arguing if that's true or false. Maybe we don't even have a training plan, but we're not even arguing that right now. Is that a productive thought? If your value based goal in this moment is, I am going to run this marathon. And if that's the case, then of course your brain is trying to help you. It's trying to protect you. It's trying to warn you. And we will recognize we'll acknowledge those thoughts or those feelings or those stories that it's trying to tell us. But we'll just say, Yeah, those are stories, and then we'll continue to move forward. And when when you ask clients to notice whether or not they are fuzed or diffused from their thoughts, so right now, how caught up are you in a thought or how much of your time is that thought dominating your view of the situation? Or have you been able to let that go or let go the judgment and see the situation from a different perspective? And I think it's really interesting, too.
Speaker2: [00:15:02] This is something where it is so important for you to figure these things out, for you to recognize and notice the thoughts that when somebody else is trying to tell you, well, you know what you need to do, because again, here comes our old friend psychology. Nicole, reactants the instant negative reaction of being told what to do when somebody is about to tell you what to do. The last thing we're going to do is say No. Tell me, what should I do? Or even if we're saying, what should I do, then as soon as someone says, here's what you need to do. Our brain is coming up with stories. Well, this is why that wouldn't work or this is why this person doesn't really understand. So it just is pretty complicated. And that's why this selfish context is so, so powerful. So again, practicing self as context is so good at facilitating diffusion when somebody is overly attached to just this, this observing self or the thinking self, so that distance provided by the observing self, that is what starts to facilitate a choice. And then you can take an effective action because you can see pretty clearly that your thoughts and feelings do not control action.
Speaker2: [00:15:59] I got to speak somewhere a couple of weeks again, ago again, and I just did the the old. This is it's a real simple exercise, but when we say often that our thoughts control our actions and people say, Yeah, I've heard that often because it's a big part of when motivational speakers or influencers talk or even part of the cognitive behavioral therapy model is that our thoughts control our emotions. Emotions control our behaviors, but a real easy way to debunk that one. And I know this isn't a perfect example, but I will often say I will hold my arm down by my side, and I will say my brain right now is saying I am thinking I need to raise my arm. I'm even telling myself, raise my arm and my arm isn't raising. So our thoughts don't always control our actions. They don't always control our behaviors. So a thought is just the thought. My brain is saying, Raise your arm and I'm saying, that's interesting. I'm noticing that my brain is saying, raise my arm. But that isn't a productive thought right now as I am speaking to this crowd. And it is definitely not a workable thought for the example that I'm trying to give them that your thoughts don't control your your actions. So this selfish context, really, it's such a big, powerful tool to be used to be able to recognize that you are more in control of your life than maybe you anticipate, but maybe not necessarily feeling as control as in control of your thoughts or your feelings or your emotions.
Speaker2: [00:17:15] So this practice is what can help with that tremendously. So there's a few metaphors used in acceptance and commitment therapy that I think really help explain self as context. So I'm going to read three of these. They're really, really brief, and I would love for you to see if any of these really resonate. And then I think the goal the maybe the takeaway is today would be to recognize how often do you two step back and recognize your thoughts and your feelings and your emotions or recognize them as that is interesting. Those are thoughts, those are feelings, and those are emotions. So the first one is called the sky and the weather metaphor. And this is one where we often say that thoughts and feelings are like the weather. They are always changing. Sometimes they're good. Sometimes it's windy and rainy is a matter of fact. Literally. This morning, I don't think I've heard a wind like this in quite some time. Right outside of my window, I can hear it blowing, and I know that I saw, I think, some lawn furniture blown around in my backyard this morning. So your thoughts and feelings again are like the weather. They're always changing. Sometimes they're fine, sometimes they're windy and rainy. And in contrast, the observing self is like the sky.
Speaker2: [00:18:16] It is always there and it cannot be harmed or changed by any of the bad weather. And sometimes it is totally obscured by clouds, but above the clouds, it is still there. Your thoughts and feelings and emotions are like the weather. They come and they go. Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're bad. But your mind is the sky. It is always you. As a person. You are like the sky, you're always there. But then the weather hits, and sometimes that weather can make us start to feel down or depressed or bad. And so we need to be able to just step back and notice the weather notice that there are some storms brewing and just have that confidence that there will also be blue skies. Because behind that bad weather is the sky, and that is the one thing that is consistent. There's another one called the chess metaphor that I really love, and this one says, and I'm not a chess player, but it says our thoughts, our feelings and our memories are like the pieces on a chessboard. So imagine that there are an infinite number of pieces and some of them are positive, like happiness or pleasant feelings or loving memories, and others are negative like anxiety or sadness or a memory of somebody who has recently died. And these tend to hang out together in teams. I love this. They hang out together in teams.
Speaker2: [00:19:27] These thoughts do the pieces on the positive and negative teams are constantly battling with one another, trying to get advantage over the other side, and the battle has gone on for years. We go through life trying to knock off all the pieces from the negative side, but as soon as we do, another one pops up and the observing self is like the chessboard it is and it is an it's an intimate contact with all the pieces, but it's not actually involved in the battle. And Russ Harris has a really neat three minute video on this on on YouTube. And and I love doing this with clients at times where sometimes the client will even say, Well, just OK, I know you're doing the therapy thing and tell me how what do I want to do and what do I get out of something? And how do I feel? But tell me what to do, and that's where I feel like, OK, I will sometimes bring up this chess metaphor and then say, All right, we'll watch this. So I feel like you really do have a lot of. It's going on for you, and then the person will say something to the effect of, OK, well, yeah, but I also feel like if that was the case, why am I not further along? And so it's again, I moved a piece, then they move a piece and then if I say, I completely understand, but if you really do look at the fact that we were talking about very, you know, suicidal thoughts and ideations a year ago, and now you're back in school and you're taking you're taking action.
Speaker2: [00:20:35] And so I really do feel like you maybe are a little bit harder on yourself than you need to be. And if the person says, Well, yeah, but I should be a lot further along because this is where my friends are or I'm going to be this age when I finally graduate. So every time that we pop up one of these positive thoughts, then we have a negative one that comes right from the other side. So that battle again has gone on for years. We go through life trying to knock off all of the pieces from the negative side. As soon as we do, another one pops up. So observing self. Remember that just like your mind is the sky, your thoughts, feelings, emotions or the whether your mind is the chessboard and the observing self, then is really you are the chessboard and you are an intimate contact with all the pieces. But your mind does not have to be involved in the battle. And then the final one. The other metaphor that I think is pretty simple, but I enjoy that too. It's the stage show metaphor. So life is like a stage show. And on that stage, all of your thoughts and your feelings and your memories and everything that you can see or hear or touch or taste or smell and the observing self.
Speaker2: [00:21:33] Is that part of you that can step back and watch the stage show? You can focus on one part of it, or you can step back and you can take in the whole scene. And there may be times where there isn't much going on at all. Or it might be a pretty boring show. And sometimes people, I think, even get caught up in the fact that they feel like there needs to be a more exciting show. And so then they will often. That's where I think sometimes self-sabotage comes in, where we feel like, OK, is this OK that everything's going OK or normal? Or do I need more going on? Should I be thinking about this more? Or can I just can I just step back and watch the show? So that that selfish context can be such a powerful, powerful tool to be able to practice, especially when you are starting to feel overly stressed or when you are starting to feel overly worried or concerned? The basic technique for practicing this whole self is context. Moment is a simple extent of contacting the present moment that you know this basic mindfulness component of of instruction is notice, whatever, whatever that is. Notice what? Whatever it is. Notice X where X can be a thought x can be a feeling.
Speaker2: [00:22:36] It can be a sensation. It can be anything that we see. Are we here? Are we touch or we taste or we smell. So in this self is context. X becomes the original noticing and then we notice that we're noticing. So and here's an example of that that they give in this youth aid toolbox that the basic instruction involves two steps in the form of notice what you're thinking are feeling. Now notice who is noticing? Be aware of who is noticing. And and this is the way that you can say, Man, check that out. I'm noticing that I am. I am feeling frustrated and then step back and say, Wow, and look at that. I'm the one that is noticing that I am, that I am feeling upset. I'm the one that's noticing that I am feeling anxious and just being able to take those steps back from that actual. I feel stressed. I feel anxious. I feel angry, is powerful. When you are, people will say, I'm just so angry and then I will oftentimes say, OK, let's take a step back from that. Let's check it out. Tell me what's going on. And then when they start to lay out the narrative, then we we try to diffuse from that. We try to take a step back. We start to view that as in context, it's I'm noticing that I'm angry.
Speaker2: [00:23:37] And when I step back from that, well, why? What are the stories my brain's telling me that I should be? I should be further along in my life, or I'm noticing that I am angry because I feel like there are people that are frustrated with me or. And when we can step back again, view that self or self in the context of that moment, then it can often make more sense and we can realize, well, that anger isn't necessarily a very productive thought, is in a very helpful thought, and so that we can start taking action or move toward things that are more productive or more helpful. Talking and listening is another ultra quick exercise that illustrates the observing self. This is from Russ Harris, where he says for the next 30 seconds, silently listen to what your mind is saying. And if your thoughts stop, just keep listening until they start again and then pause 30 seconds. And then so there you have it. There's a part of your mind that talks the thinking self, and then there's a part of your mind that listens. And again, that's the observing self. There's an exercise that they often have in act as well that is called the continuous you exercise. That is one that that I'll provide a link to. It's more of like a guided meditation. And then there's another one that's called Let yourself go. And this one can really be powerful in this youth aid toolbox website.
Speaker2: [00:24:46] They say practitioners who work with younger people often believe that their clients need more self-esteem, and the way we tend to work on that is by helping them to reduce negative self judgments. And of course, you're trying to help them think more positive thoughts about themselves. But from an act perspective, there are dangers to this approach of trying to replace negative self statements with positive ones. Fusion with a self description is likely to create problems, whether it's positive or negative. That's a quote from Russ Harris. So the problem with identifying with. Any particular aspect of who you are is that once you become attached to that particular aspect of your identity, you start to set yourself up to distort the world in order to maintain this vision of yourself. And that is from Russ. That is from I'm sorry. Steven Hayes, one of the founders of Act. He says that if we're fuzed with a positive self-concept and something happens that contradicts this, then we can be thrown into a painful dilemma. And I've done a few episodes on this, and this is where I do appreciate the idea of positive self-talk, but positive self-talk, or I'm just going to choose to be happy today. Sounds like a marvelous plan. Until then, life happens or something occurs. And then then people can even feel worse about themselves because they have made the conscious decision that I am going to be happy today.
Speaker2: [00:25:54] So then if they all of a sudden sleep in sleep past their alarm, they get to school or work late or something happens. Somebody around them gets hurt or injured, or a dog throws up on the carpet or anything like that. Then they may even feel worse because they had this goal. They had told themselves they were just going to be happy. So rather than, Self-esteem Act recommends self-acceptance acceptance, and this involves diffusing from and accepting both the negative and the positive self judgments that continually parade through our mind. So again, this is why self context can be so helpful, because you're going to notice that sometimes we feel good about ourselves and sometimes we are trying to beat ourselves up. And being able to take a look at that from this observing self helps us to be able to recognize that just these thoughts or just thoughts and these feelings are just feelings. There is such a good footnote in the material that I'm pulling from in this podcast today. The says the approach of self acceptance, as advocated by act, is significantly different from the approach of quote positive thinking that is widely advocated in popular psychology. Mixing the two approaches can be very confusing and counterproductive. Positive thinking is not an evidence based therapeutic idea, and I know that can feel a bit controversial until you really start to think that through or work in this field or use act for an extended period of time of noticing that in order to really start to get significant improvement, it really is starting to just notice thoughts, notice feelings, notice emotions and then move toward things that matter.
Speaker2: [00:27:19] Find these value based goals and really start to take action and then notice when you are feeling like you don't want to or feeling like there are all these yeah, buts that are coming up and then recognizing them, acknowledging them. Those are thoughts, those are feelings, and then just continuing to take action. So I'm going to wrap things up today with an exercise from act called Virgo. Your thoughts? And this is simply an extension of an exercise that a lot of act practitioners do call. Watch your thoughts. And it is a diffusion technique, so I'm going to literally read this out. It's pretty short, but the therapist in this scenario says, and so let's actually just say this to you. So find a comfortable, find a comfortable position and close your eyes. And so now notice where are your thoughts? Where do they seem to be located? Are they above you or are they behind you? Or are they in front of you? Or are they to one side? And in that scenario, I would pause for a few seconds and then and notice the form of those thoughts are they pictures or are they words or they sounds? Because your thoughts or your your feelings, your emotions are going to come in a lot of different ways.
Speaker2: [00:28:19] So are yours pictures or their words are they sounds? And we're going to we would pause for a little while there. Pause for a few seconds and then notice. Are they moving or are they still? And if they're moving, what speed are your thoughts going? What direction are they going? Again, are they pictures or their words? Or are they just sounds? And now notice that there are two separate processes going on here. There's a process of thinking and you're thinking self is throwing up all sorts of words and pictures. Then there's a process of noticing and you're observing self is noticing all of those thoughts. And so this will tend to get somebody's mind worrying and debating and analyzing. So the therapist says, let's do it again. So notice again. Where are your thoughts? And are they pictures or they words, or are they moving or are they still? And we pause a little while and then there go your thoughts. And there you are, observing those thoughts and your thoughts just keep changing, but the you that observes them does not change. And then notice that this will again get your mind whirring or buzzing or debating or analyzing. And so you do it one more time. Just notice. Where are those thoughts? Where the thoughts in your head? And then again, are they pictures? Are they words? Are they moving or are they still? What direction are they going? How fast are they going? And we're going to, and we would pause and we would just recognize again, there go your thoughts, and there you are observing them.
Speaker2: [00:29:39] So your thoughts truly change, but you don't. You have your thinking self and you have your observing self and starting to get into touch with those can be one of the most powerful things that you can do. And I would highly encourage you to start a practice just a little bit. If you notice that you're thinking or notice that you're feeling or or notice that you're you're starting to feel a certain way that those are. That is your observing self. So you've got your thinking self and you're observing self. So there's my goal for you today that I want you to to practice that practice that throughout the day, practice that throughout the coming week. And that is going to lead to a pretty powerful concept of diffusion, where then you're going to be able to step back and you are not your thoughts. You are not your emotions, you're not your feelings. You are you. You are a unique, wonderful human being that has a lot of amazing talents and abilities. And you in the sooner that you start to recognize that, then you can start to take action on the things that really matter and your brain is still going to come up.
Speaker2: [00:30:35] Just like in that chess metaphor, it's still going to try to come up with a lot of the Abbotts, and it's going to try to counter a negative to every positive or positive to every negative. But when you learn to just recognize that notice that bless your brains, heart for trying to help you out and start taking action on things that really matter, that that is when you start to notice that you're living a much more productive, value based, purpose filled life and that is a life worth living. So, hey, thanks for taking the time to go through this with me today, or we didn't get too nerdy in the act world or the in the psychology world. And once again, I forgot until the very end that if you are looking for the counseling and you're looking to the world of online help, go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you can get 10 percent off your first month's treatment. And we'll just kind of leave it there. Then that betterhelp.com add enough that I think you know where I'm going with that sliding scales and you can have a nice assessment process and you can switch counselors at any time. But thanks for joining me and I hope you have an amazing week. We'll see you next time on the virtual couch.
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