So we are cruising at high altitude, focused on our life's mission, and not bothered by setbacks because we are taking the long view. Good job! Then come the rogue thoughts, which make us freak out in the moment. They always seem to be there, right? Doubts, fears, or self-criticisms. You know this crew.
I imagine some people are more aware of unhelpful thoughts than others. The first step is simply paying closer attention to our ongoing mental chatter and monitoring it like staff in an elementary school cafeteria. Listen for problems and intervene before someone starts crying or a fight breaks out.
What to do next is up to you. I counsel myself and say things like, "Uh, that doesn't help, dude," or "So what? I've been more embarrassed before and didn't die." Directly challenging one thought with another works well for me. After doing this for years, I've pretty much beaten my rogue thoughts into submission. And yes, I call that voice, "Dude." It's totally okay to cut the Dude off.
There are many ways to interrupt thoughts from listening to music, shifting focus to something in the environment, snapping a rubber band on the wrist, consciously doing a task like relaxing fingers or toes, cracking knuckles, singing a mantra, etc. For more ideas, search "thought stopping" on the internet.
What works best for you?
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