I love the story of Alice in Wonderland as it’s full of interesting characters and fun implied messages! I use the analogy of going “down the rabbit hole” to describe when my client’s thoughts go immediately from 0 to 60 in a few seconds, particularly when they are negative. Everyone does this … as a matter of fact, I myself am very close with Alice and the Mad Hatter as I too go down the rabbit hole anytime something negative happens! If you think too much, then chances are, you’re as familiar with the Rabbit Hole as I am!
So how do you catch yourself before you go down there?
First of all, remember that visiting that place is mostly a bad habit!
More than likely, you’ve been doing this since you were a girl and even more likely is that someone important in your life showed you how. Maybe it was your mom or dad or grandma … you’ve come by this skill honestly my love!
Now that you know it’s not evidence that you’re broken but rather that it’s just a habit you’ve acquired (and perfected!) over the years, you can now start changing it.
I tell my client’s that there are a few seconds before your thoughts become your feelings and going down the Rabbit Hole is a surefire way to feel shitty!
Let’s say you’re having a negative all-or-nothing thought about your day like “I am such a loser, I can’t even submit my reports on time.” Chances are you now you’re starting to feel like crap and this begins the spiral down the hole as you multiply that thought into a hundred others just like it! Ugh! Now your day has gone to hell in a hand-basket and you feel powerless to prevent this. But you’re not!
To quote the beautiful and sparkly good witch from Wizard of Oz, Glinda, “you’ve always had the power my dear!”
As soon as you have a negative thought that you know produces these negative feelings, you have a few seconds to change it so being aware of the tricky thoughts is the first step.
Next, imagine a stop sign or tell yourself No! This will cause your habitual thought direction to pause, then say to yourself a thought that will counter the original negative one: “I’m not a loser, I just had some issues getting the info I needed to complete the report. I’ll do better next time.”
This will prevent you from creating cascading thoughts that mirror the original one and now you’re off and running in a better direction!
Is it always this easy?
Some days are just going to be shit days and you’ll feel more vulnerable to negative thoughts: you might have to correct yourself 87 times those days.
But rest assured that this is retraining your brain (where all this stuff originates) and it will eventually become second nature which means you won’t have to have tea parties down the Rabbit Hole anymore. Or at least not as often.
This has worked for me so well that I now get to pick and chose what thoughts annoy me – it’s a game changer!
Let me know what you think of this trick in the comments!