Thinking About Your EX? Do the Joy Test…
This “Joy Test” post has been in the making for months, possibly even years. It’s aimed at those of you who are constantly thinking about your EX. Perhaps thinking is too light of a term. Maybe you’re fixating, obsessing, totally distracted and hurting…
If that’s you, then read on…
After a breakup, for weeks or even months, we can be consumed with so many thoughts and questions. These could be questioning things like, “what did I do to deserve this?”.
Or you may want reconciliation – so it’s more like “how can I win my ex back?”
Maybe you’re constantly thinking these repetitive thoughts that you really want to get off your chest….so it could be, “I want to write a letter to my ex to say……”
All of these topics (and many more) have been covered here over the years on SYBD (you can always do an SYBD search in our archives).
But this post is a little different and it’s about what I’ve done to start feeling better after a breakup.
Thousands of Thoughts
We are all human are therefor thoughtful creatures.
We walk around with 50,000-80,000 thoughts every single day (35-48 thoughts a minute – oh my).
Many of those thoughts are negative and most are habitual. In other words, we keep walking around with the same ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ that we did yesterday, the day before, the week before, the year before, and so on.
At least until we decide to change them. Notice I don’t say “control” them because I don’t believe that we can control our thoughts. You will never know what the next thought is that’s going to pop into your brain. How could you?
What you can do is notice them and, when necessary, shift them.
Changing the Way You Think
If you do start to change your thoughts, you will change your life. (If you haven’t read that similarly titled Wayne Dyer book I highly recommend it.)
Changing the way you think, particularly when your thoughts are maybe a little obsessive (about your ex for instance), can be ridiculously challenging. I know, I’ve been there. I was that girl, for years. I not only thought, I obsessed, I pined into painful wells of despair…Until I realised that all that thinkin’ wasn’t making me feel better.
I knew that I needed to do something different. So I went on a quest to learn more about the brain and our thoughts. I watched video after video, read books, listened to CDs and scoured blogs.
I shifted my focus to retraining my brain. It’s been a daily effort, for years now, but the older I get, the happier and more successful I get.
It’s not a one and done thing, it takes practice, and some tools, because if you don’t keep practicing, you will end up falling back to your original thought patterns.
It’s not just a case of repeating some daily affirmations. Though they are good, most people are doing them wrong.
I can walk around all day long saying “I am loveable” or “I am wealthy” but if I don’t actually FEEL those things to be true – then there is conflict and they’ll never work.
So what I am suggesting is slightly different.
The Joy Test Is Born
I started to do what I dubbed the “joy test” – on my own thoughts. When I was habitually thinking a thought, whether about a guy, career, family stuff, etc, I stopped and questioned it: “Does this thought bring me joy or pain”?
After I asked it, I sat and waited for a few seconds to see what the answer was.
Sometimes a word came up or sometimes a feeling but essentially, if the thought was painful, in any way, I would immediately shift my focus.
I’d notice small things around me that were more positive. I started with simple things.
Here, try this yourself. Look around you right now. Find something focus for a moment on — the sun, the blue sky (if you’re lucky enough to see a blue sky out your window), a pet, a photograph of a happy time, a flower or maybe a tree…
Or close your eyes and think of a loved one – mom, dad, child, relative you love, or dearest friend you always have fun with (not your ex!!). Think of a time you had a blast together.
Just shift your focus for a minute and be in that experience mentally. Yes, it takes practice. Daily practice. If you start to do that every time you notice yourself fixating on your ex, your shift will become easier. It may only be 30 seconds at first, then a minute, then five, then ten and so on. But I promise you, that if you do the work, it’s possible.
Next time you’re tormenting yourself with thoughts about your ex (and maybe who/what they’re doing right now) – take a beat.
Inhale a deep breath and question the thought: “Is this thought giving me peace and pleasure or pain and displeasure?”
If it’s the latter, start to shift your focus to little things that surround you or to some happier time/place.
Think Good Thoughts
A while back I put this “Joy Test” to the test. A handsome friend did something that hurt my feelings. It wasn’t personal as such but I found myself fixating on what he did (or rather didn’t do). The thought plagued me. Then I remembered my own Joy Test. Each time he popped into my head, I shifted from painful thoughts to ones that bring me joy.
I only needed to do that for a day or two, and then it got to the point there was no longer any pain associated with him when he came into my brain. I chose a different thought path.
Please don’t keep thinking the thoughts that make you more and more miserable. We have no control over thoughts, they come and go, but what we can do is when we see it pop up, again, we can take 10-15 seconds before that thought really grips us, and we can focus on something else. If you keep thinking a thought more than 15 seconds you’ve latched onto it and given it momentum. The trick is to shift inside the 15 seconds so the thought doesn’t have time to become energised and get weight. It simply slips away.
Mindfulness is another way to help you stop fixating thoughts about your ex, but we’ll talk about that another day OK?
What do you do to stop constantly thinking about your ex? Answer in the comments below.
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