In their Mind-Body Workbook for Stress Block &Block share effective tools reducing and managing stress. Even though this book lacks some structure which may create confusion to a reader not specialized in the area of psychology, and also lacks proper definitions and explanations that could make the book easier for general audience, this book in fact introduces wonderful ideas, tools and methods to help people manage stress. The first thing that they mention is the I-system. The way I understood the I-system according to Block and Block is that I-system is like a communicating system between thoughts and feelings and vice versa. When this system is at rest the individual can access inner power and wisdom to handle stressful situations properly. However when I-system is active it does not allow the individual to see the situations clear and make the right decisions. When I-system is activated the individual is focusing all his intention on one negative thought by ignoring all other possibilities to resolve the situation. These negative thoughts feed the negative feelings even more by overloading and impairing self-power (Block & Block, 2012).
Another helpful method they share in this book is labeling thoughts. Their book is more like a manual and I think it is expected from the reader to know how thoughts trigger emotions and emotions trigger further thoughts. It is basically a perpetum mobile inside our own body that constantly fuels us with energy. This energy can be used to create or destruct, motivate or discourage. I explain this mechanism between thoughts and emotions in my book The Truth. However, I am shortly going to touch this matter here in this post, so that in case you decide to apply Block and Block’s methods, which are excellent tools, you need to know how this system works first. So here we go:
Every thought that pops in our mind after we make an observation of a situation is just a thought. Therefore it needs to be considered just like a thought not a fact, more or less like a brainstorming of ideas. However, since thoughts trigger emotions, then emotions will amplify the thought. (this process is a result of magnetic fields at different centers of our body that affect one another, and I explain this process in my book The Truth). This amplified thought now becomes the focus of our attention and does not allow us to look at other ideas and other thoughts. As a result we feel unsettled and we need answers. We start creating a story based on this intensified thought. We need to know how the story will end, good or bad. We keep forgetting that this was just a story we created based on one thought or one idea that popped into our mind. When we make a story out of one thought, we then start acting filled with fear, because of this thought, or vice versa, we act full of excitement and euphoria with lots of expectations when there is nothing to be excited about. So, in order to avoid making story lines with excitingly positive or negative endings, would be better to entertain these thoughts as pure thoughts not facts. It is important to stop this process right from the beginning because once we allow one single idea to be fueled by emotions we would then try to prove to ourselves and others that we were right by falling into the habit of self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, to avoid creating stories every time an idea or thought comes into our mind, we can do that by allowing our mind to brainstorm more ideas, and cut the thinking process from triggering any type of emotions during the brain storming. The fact that our brain works in duality is indeed very helpful for us. Therefore one idea will never come alone. For example, when we think of heights we also think of depth, where is good is also bad, young and old, and so on. Therefore after every positive affirmation, or positive idea we may also experience negative affirmations, or negative ideas and vice versa. We just need to take advantage of this quality and allow all ideas to present without using emotions to fuel any of these thoughts at the moment, before brain starts sorting out more and more facts through observations.
So, back to Blocks, what they suggest in their book is that you can label the thought the moment it pops up in your mind, by telling yourself, “OK that’s just one thought. Or, one way to look at it.” At this moment, by self-talking your consciousness to look for other ideas you disassociate yourself from feeling any emotions.
In the next post, I will introduce one of the methods I use and which I have introduced in my book Secret Beyond the Secret on how to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts instead of just labeling them, by using the duality, the way our mind works. This method may be very important in cases where positive thinking is crucial and is needed due to lack of time in resolving a situation by sorting through all the facts.
Block, S.H., Bryant Block, C. (2012). Mind-Body Workbook for Stress, Oakland: New Harbinder Publications, Inc.