If you’re like me, you feel as though you can’t turn your brain off at times, as if there are hamsters on a wheel in your head. Or perhaps it’s an urge to have or do something you probably shouldn’t have. Or maybe you find yourself angry and ready to pull your hair out because you’re so stressed!
What should you do when you find yourself experiencing this power struggle?
Say the word stop out loud.
It’s one word, and it holds a lot of power.
It’s also the first step of the SABER flow.
SABER is a process to walk yourself through when you feel stuck between two incongruent thoughts, or simply said, when you have a power struggle in your mind.
Think of SABER as a pattern disruptor.
How many times have you tried going to sleep, but your mind won’t stop racing? Your body is tired, but you can’t seem to quiet the conversation in your head. Maybe you’ve been catastrophizing or ruminating about something?
Saying STOP out loud when you find yourself in these moments will immediately diffuse the thoughts.
It provides a moment of calm.
It’s enough time to pause the thinking, or the temptation, or the inner conflict in your mind.
It’s almost as though stomping your foot near a bunch of ants and watching them scatter away.
The act of staying STOP provides the breathing room
you’ll need before moving on to the next step of the SABER flow.
So why does this work?
How can simply saying STOP gives you so much power?
From a neuroscience perspective, it brings awareness forward to your prefrontal cortex, where we rationalize our thinking. When we find ourselves in a power struggle, our thoughts stem from beliefs in our unconscious mind.
By saying STOP, either out loud or to ourselves, we are bringing the awareness forward.
An example of this is from my own story.
About two years after I quit drinking, I stopped at the grocery store to grab something for dinner.
As I was walking back to the seafood department, I noticed a large display of wine in front of me,
with what used to be my favorite Chardonnay. My mouth immediately began to water with the thought of having a glass of wine. I could feel the saliva build in my mouth.
The temptation was real.
I had a multitude of thoughts and feelings come over me in the moment.
I felt a strong pull, a tug of war.
Then, all of a sudden, I yelled STOP out loud.
The power struggle immediately stopped. I gave myself the pause I needed.
So what happened next?
Find out as I continue my story with step two of the SABER – acknowledging the thoughts.
If you’d like to read more about the SABER flow, download Living in the Gray – A Power Struggle Within. It’s a chapter from the #1 bestselling book, The Successful Mind, Tools to Living a Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life!