I LEARNED THAT DRINKING green or black tea is good for your health,
so I started drinking it a few years ago. But sometimes I would
notice my heart beating. It's a sensation I rarely have. Somehow
I got in the habit of wondering, "Am I having a heart attack?"
And that thought would give me a scare, making my heart beat
even more, making me even more aware of it, scaring me even more.
Sometimes I even thought, "I'm going to scare myself into
a heart attack!" And that was the scariest thought of all.
What put an end to all this nonsense was
the method I am about to present to you. The method is based
on the solid foundation of the truth, and the truth is, my
thoughts were really stupid. If I was really concerned about
having a heart attack, I should go get a checkup. Otherwise,
the thoughts are counterproductive, self-defeating, and not at
all helpful for anything. They are just stupid. It's kind of
embarrassing to catch yourself thinking a stupid thought, but
just admit it, and put the thought in its place the garbage
can. If it's a stupid thought, dismiss it as not worthy of your
attention by saying to yourself with some emphasis: That's
This is something to say in your mind with
a sense of disgust, and to say to yourself when you're thinking
something that: 1) you're in the habit of thinking, 2) that doesn't
do you any good at all, and 3) that is a really stupid thought.
Every time I drank tea and felt my heart
beat and thought I was going to have a heart attack, I put the
thought down. I ridiculed it. That's a stupid thought. It's
ridiculous! I said it to myself like I would talk to a four
year old: Quit being silly! You're only scaring yourself.
It worked like a charm. Every once in awhile
the thoughts came up, less and less as time went on, and I just
dismissed them again with the attitude of a king being bothered
by an annoying jester: A wave of my hand, an annoyed look on
my face, and a simple, "Guards, get that silly clown out
of my sight."
The truth is, our minds come up with some
stupid stuff sometimes and every once in awhile we notice it
and fixate on it. Normal streams of thought that aren't about
anything in particular, according to researchers in the field,
are a chaotic jumble of randomly generated "value-free"
ideas, images and symbols. David H. Barlow, PhD, psychologist
and director of the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders at
the State University of New York-Albany says:
If we were somehow able to build a thought
recorder, what we would record would be just about every kind
of thought imaginable. Sexual thoughts, violent thoughts, some
of them very strange and bizarre
but for the most part, fleeting. They go in one ear
and out the other, and a millisecond later you've forgotten about
But sometimes, for one reason or another,
you stick on something. Sometimes one of those random thoughts
will make you feel something, and you attach yourself
to it. Sometimes that's good. If it is an idea related to a goal
of yours, it might be useful. But sometimes, you stick on it
because it scares you or makes you mad or sad. And often it is
something you can do nothing about. In that case, the thought
is stupid and should be ridiculed into oblivion.
But please remember this: When you're ridiculing
your thoughts, you are not ridiculing yourself. Your thoughts
arise spontaneously. You are not doing it. Your mechanism,
your brain machinery is doing it. You can take over, but if you're
not deliberately thinking, your brain will simply produce the
thoughts it has been conditioned to think by training, circumstances,
and biological fluctuations. So do not ridicule yourself
or beat yourself up or make fun of yourself or do anything
that makes you feel bad. You are ridiculing the thought.
This method won't work for everything,
of course, but for some thoughts, it is a simple, elegant way
of getting beyond them.
Handle counterproductive thoughts
by ridiculing them (not yourself).