Freedom from Negative Thinking

“The Freedom Practice”, created by Elisha Goldstein, speaks to the power of gaining freedom from styles of thinking that don’t serve us and keep us stuck in stress, anxiety, depression, and even our addictive behaviors.

These types of thoughts are often referred to as  “Mind Traps.”

Mind traps are styles like catastrophizing, blaming, and exaggerating the negative and discounting the positive or just your most common negative thoughts.

The Freedom Practice

When you first notice a mind trap or common negative thought, first stop, take an intentional deep breath and from this more mindful space, move through these next four steps (Name, Feel, Release, Redirect):

1. Name it

Actually name the style of thinking or behaving that isn’t serving you in your mind or say it out loud (e.g., overeating, catastrophic thinking, grumpiness, etc.). This not only creates more awareness for you, but also has been found to bring more activity to the part of your brain that has to do with emotional regulation.

2. Feel it

Recognize how this moment feels in the body. This grounds us to the reality of the moment and gives us access to a choice point.

3. Release it

Practice this phrase in concert with the breath, “Breathing in, I acknowledge the feeling that’s here; breathing out, I release it.”

4. Redirect it

Shift your attention to something that is healthier and/or more important to pay attention to.

Bring this awareness into the moments of your day, dropping into what really matters.

This practice was inspired by Elisha Goldstein’s work with the evidence-based program, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Remember, most importantly, this is a learning process. That means don’t measure success by whether “it works” every time or not, instead you’re training your brain to name, recognize, release, and redirect.
January 13, 2017 by Ciara McCarthy

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