Hmmmm…Seven Day Mental Diet. I knew this one would be a tall order when I first heard it. The idea comes from a booklet by the same name written by Emmet Fox. Here’s the idea in a nutshell, “For seven days I must not allow myself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought”. The key term is “dwell” as situations, circumstances and Negative Nellies will bring many opportunities into our lives on a regular basis. When a negative thought presents itself, it must be turned out or substituted with another thought immediately.
Here’s a little chronology of my week. The timer started on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at around 6 pm. My Pittsburgh Steelers had just lost to the lowly New York Jets. I kept thinking how I don’t understand why the play “down” to their lesser opponents. That’s the second time this year they lost to a bad football team. Oops! That didn’t take long. Did I mention I have to re-start every time I fail my mental diet? My first re-start was before I even got home on Sunday evening. I soon got over my frustration and will be rooting for the Black-n-Gold again on Monday evening.
The diet, like all diets, really runs on the honor system. You can cheat but you still have to deal with The Guy in the Glass if you do…just like a regular diet. In reality there’s no lying to The Guy in the Glass(Mirror) on either kind of diet.
Closer to home those Negative Nellies, who, like Pigpen of Charlie Brown fame, travel with their cloud of negative debris ready to obscure my view of my future. My old pattern would be to respond in-kind, to defend my turf and explain to them how they were sadly misinformed, mistaken or just plain wrong.
Earlier in the week I responded according to my old blueprint and re-started several times. In fact I re-started several times on Monday and Tuesday respectively. A funny thing happened though. I started to become more aware when these circumstances were happening. Soon I was reacting a little slower, a little less viscerally. Things were slowing down a little. I was reacting in a more constructive way more and more. There were still re-starts on Wednesday and Thursday but they weren’t at every turn. I could see progress.
I was also starting to realize the wide range of negative thoughts and emotions we succumb to every day. Finding a way to deal with some of them has been tricky for me. It seems that I see the more obvious ones coming and handle them well. Others are still a work in progress!
I’m sure this was meant to be a learning experience…and it has been. But like all great learning it hasn’t been entirely painless. “Gotta Luv It!” my old high school football coach would say, and he was right then as now. I do Luv It! I see a definite increase in my awareness of what thought flies through my cranium at the speed of light. I’m also reacting well, not “dwelling” on the negative grenades others roll under my tent. Now I just stay clear and substitute another thought. I haven’t made it through seven days but will keep re-starting until I get it right. I’ll get there! NGU! (And No, those aren’t my feet in the photo. lol!)