Nagging Thoughts and their role in Personal Development
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Nagging Thoughts

From time to time we are all bothered by thoughts whirring round and round in our head. Typically, this occurs when you are facing a daunting problem. It's as though the thought is stuck there, refusing to let you think of anything else. Frequently, these thoughts are at their most persistent when you are trying to sleep.

The good news is that you can learn to get rid of them. The first thing you need to learn is that you control your thoughts, they don't control you - unless you let them. Here's proof:

Imagine yourself standing outside a busy railway station. There are young people sitting on the steps waiting for their friends. Above them is a row of clocks showing the departure times on the various lines. Behind you, traffic is streaming by making an awful noise.

Now imagine yourself at the beach. It's a warm day so there are a number of people sunbaking on the sand. Overhead seagulls are squawking as the waves roll into the shore. As you picture yourself standing there on the beach ask yourself this question: What happened to the vision of the railway station?

The answer is that you changed your thoughts. You have the power to change your thoughts at will, any time you want to. Your thoughts are powerless to stop you from casting them out of your mind.

Now, I know and you know that the thoughts that keep you awake at night are stronger than images of a railway station. So to get rid of those thoughts you will need a stronger technique than the one described above. Here are two methods you can use to get rid of persistent thoughts:

The Appointment Method
Set aside ten minutes of every hour in which you will entertain your nagging thoughts. When an unwanted thought enters your head, talk back to it. Tell the thought that you are busy right now but will be happy to consider it at the set time and that you will allow it free reign for ten minutes. If the thought returns before the appointed time, remind it of your promise. Continue to do this until the thought gets the message.

At the appointed time keep your promise. For ten minutes allow the thought to whirr around in your head as much as it likes, then advise it that its time is up and that you will be happy to re-consider it in another hour. Don't allow it back until the next appointment time.

Stick to this plan for as long as necessary. Be firm with the thought. Remember you're the boss. Eventually, you might like to alter the arrangements, say, agree to an appointment every two hours. Or you might cut down the time allowed from ten minutes to five minutes. Your ultimate goal is to get rid of the thought totally and to only consider it when it suits you.

The Stop Method
This method is similar to the railway station and the beach exercise you did earlier, but it involves some preparation and some practice. You can learn the procedure in four steps.

Step 1: Imagine a peaceful scene. Somewhere you remember that makes you feel calm. Try to get a clear picture in your mind. This is your Special Spot.

Step 2: Allow the nagging thought to enter your head.

Step 3: In a loud voice yell out "STOP" and replace the nagging thought with an image of your Special Spot. If there are people around you can imagine yourself yelling, "Stop". You don't want people thinking you're crazy do you?

Step 4: Practice the above three steps over and over until you can replace the nagging thought any time it enters your head.

With these two methods - you can use them separately or together - you can rid yourself of unwanted thoughts forever.

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