Upsetting events often keep a stranglehold on the present as they pop up and get in your face leaving you disempowered. Take control with this simple, effective and easy to learn mind-mastery technique.
The past high-jacks the present
We have all been there, something happens to upset us and our thinking mind just can’t let it go. It could be a water-cooler conversation at work that left you feeling angry, an unfair reprimand from a boss, right on up to events associated with a relationship breakup. Whatever it is, it is as if the memory of the event has taken on a life of its own and has in some ways possessed your consciousness … the movie just keeps rerunning on endless loop. It is as if you have no control over what movies you get to play in your own head. The past is high-jacking your awareness leaving you with no power to live fully and effectively now. The thing is, continually replying upsetting events usually serves absolutely no purpose other than to cause you to have a bad day. The thing has happened, it is as it is, you can’t change the past but you can do something about how you live right now, the only moment which is available to you.
“Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging up your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do-the only thing-is run.” ― Lauren Oliver, Delirium
Take control of the movies you run in your head.
You can take control though, it is your head after all. You can get to choose what and where you place your awareness.
Here is a powerful technique, from the NLP tradition that will allow you to rapidly and effectively place past events where they should be. Out of your face and in the past. The trick is to change how you represent past events to yourself so they lose their hold on your awareness.
Check you’re this graphic from Brendan Kalnins
The fade to grey hack
- Bring to mind an event that you keep replaying. Focus on what you see, hear, and feel.
- Place the representation of the event outside of yourself, but keep it right in your face so it dominates your awareness.
- Picture the event moving away from you so that you have space to breathe.
- Fade the colors to grey, turn off the audio, and shrink the image to the size of a postage stamp.
- Move the image just behind your left shoulder, so if you turn around you will see it.
- Slowly move the even further and further away from you until it is only a speck on the horizon.
- Repeat the process every time the event gets in your face.
This technique involves using your active imagination. Visualize the event with all the senses engaged just like you do when you replay the event over and over without conscious control.
“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put the past together again. So let’s remember: Don’t try to saw sawdust.” – Dale Carnegie
“Hanging on to resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” – Ann Landers
Why it works
If we represent events as vivid, large, loud (like on a huge movie screen) they will have a far greater impact on how we feel than if they are behind us, small, grey, and quiet.
In a nutshell, fade it to grey, make it small, put it behind you, and have a better day.