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  • Dr. Sonal Keswani

YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS (but you can be if you wanted to)

Updated: Apr 17


Growing up I was always a bubbly kid. I happened to lose that spark sometime right after the 10th grade. I’m not fully sure what changed, but I was suddenly disinterested in everything, I didn’t see the purpose of being on this planet, I was sleeping for most part of the day, skipping all my classes at college and in general isolating myself from the world. I didn’t think it was a big deal because it wasn’t that I was unhappy. I just really disliked being around people, disliked the continuous thoughts in my head and couldn’t pragmatically see the point of being here. I just wanted to shut it all out. It all felt like too much. Being alone or asleep seemed like the only time I could have some sort of solace.

Hiding from the world became my operative state of being. Fast forward to 8 years later. I was attending a local festival in my city where someone while giving a talk asked me to consider this- What if 99.9% of your thoughts, feelings and emotions don’t actually belong to you? And if you could just ask for every thought feeling and emotion that pops for the next 3 days – Who does this belong to? And return it to sender, what might that create? - I thought well that’s crazy who else would it possibly belong to? But honestly at that point I was willing to try anything and inherently something about what he said rang true. I had nothing to lose. And for the next 3 days I did exactly that.

Here’s what I realized:

1. We are far more aware than we give ourselves credit for. In those 3 days never once was anything mine except for once!! (The heaviness in my stomach from eating too much food)

2.Every time I asked the question, I no longer felt the heaviness of the thought, feeling or emotion anymore.

3. I had a level of peace and calm that I had never experienced. (Maybe sometimes with meditation, but this was so much better cos it was instant)

4. Where has this been all my life? Are you telling me I could’ve completely avoided that constant struggle, overwhelm and mind chatter all these years?

5. What I was truly hiding from was not people, it was my awareness of them, their worlds, their judgements and this reality. (which frankly can be a bit painful at times)

6. My awareness wasn’t wrong or a problem. I just didn’t have the tools to manage it effectively.

7. I no longer have to be at the effect of things. I can navigate this reality with openness and confidence in contrast to the hiding and crumbling I was doing.

8. Now that I didn’t see myself as a someone who had to constantly be protected from he world I could actually go beyond my own needs and look at how I could be a contribution to the people around me.

9. When I could be the contribution I was, that’s when I felt most like myself, happy and grateful for being alive than I ever have.

10. I was empowered in a way no one and nothing could take away from me.



Ps: If you’d like more clarity on this tool and how to apply it, here’s a video





#depression #mentalhealth #socialanxiety #ADD #ADHD #OCD

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