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The Human Mind and How It Creates The Greatest Mental Horror Stories

Human Mind Creates Greatest Mental Horror Stories

O = Observe

Next, it’s time to take a closer look at the monster. What does it really look like? What thoughts are showing up? What can you feel in your body? And what else do you notice? Observe the horror story in all its detail. Like a curious scientist making a new discovery, you want to observe without judgment. Pure, neutral observation.

O = Open

Up This next step is possibly the hardest of them all. After you have observed your horror story, it’s time to open up to it. This means allowing yourself to get in contact with these difficult thoughts and feelings. Don’t forget to breathe. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s also important. The more you can allow yourself to open up to what is difficult, the less it will control you, and the easier it will be for you to do what is important and meaningful.

K = Karaoke

Now a bit of fun. See if you can distill your horror story into a single sentence, for instance “I’m going to die old and alone”. Once you have it, think of your favorite monster, and imagine them saying the sentence. Now do a full Karaoke.

Impersonate Frankenstein’s monster mumbling “Nobody loves me”. Pretend to be a witch cackling “I’m lazy and stupid”. Experiment with different voices, and see how it affects the horror story. Chances are, it will lose a bit of its grip and you will gain a different perspective.

Y = Yes, Thank you

Then see if you can finish with a gentle “yes” and thanking your mind for its scary attempt to be of use. Your mind is trying to protect you. Don’t treat it harshly! Yes, it is OK to have scary stories. Much in the same way you will thank the ghosts and goblins coming to your door far all their work on their costumes done to scare you, see if a bit of appreciation settles the mind. After all — it did get you to sing scary Karaoke!

In horror movies – at least the ones with a happy ending – the protagonists that survive are not fearless. Quite the opposite. You can see their fear, their anxiety, their stress, and their worries. But instead of letting themselves be controlled by their fears, they are able to focus on what matters most, and take effective action.

And when you are confronted by your own personal horror story, see if you can adapt this level of resourcefulness and remember to be S.P.O.O.K.Y.

Did you find the S.P.O.O.K.Y formula interesting? Let us know more about your thoughts in the comments below.

Written by: Steve C. Hayes
Originally appeared on:
Republished with permission
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The Human Mind and How It Creates The Greatest Mental Horror Stories
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Dr. Steven C. Hayes

Steven C. Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor in the Behavior Analysis program at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 44 books and nearly 600 scientific articles, his career has focused on an analysis of the nature of human language and cognition and the application of this to the understanding and alleviation of human suffering. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory, an account of human higher cognition, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that uses mindfulness, acceptance, and values-based methods.View Author posts