Cartoon Zoo Technique Instantly Stops The Pain Of Getting Carried Away By Damaging Emotional Self-Talk — Before It Even Begins
“Massive Fail!” Your mind shouts out at you. “Aren’t you supposed to be working on being a better person?” It continues. “Just look at you. You’re losing your temper again. You’re sitting in judgment again. You’re (insert your particular mental poison here) again!! Idiot!”
You realize you have been lost in a mental play… taken away from the present, and into that hell of the imagined reality. Perhaps reliving a past event. Perhaps projecting a fantasy of “I shoulda woulda coulda.”
Then despair sets in… again…
But don’t fret for too long. It’s the nature of this treacherous path you have chosen: awareness, consciousness.
Learn from your “fail” this time. Trace back to when it began. Once you identify the “fail” point, get to know it. Notice the change in energy that happens in you. Let that act as a key, or an anchor, so you recognize it the next time. (Yes, there will be a next time.)
Use The “Cartoon Zoo” Technique to Lighten the Mood and Raise Your Awareness.
What is the Cartoon Zoo technique?
Assign a mental image of a goofy cartoon zoo animal to the emotion that is a “trigger” for you. For example, if aggression is one of your “awareness fails,” you might assign a big angry but goofy looking gorilla to hyperbolize the emotion. And every time you feel your aggression coming in to play, visualize the big goofy gorilla trying to take over your mind.
Is “Judgement” one of your poisons? How about a silly billy goat with a police uniform on, chattering away at what people are doing “wrong”?
Coping with a tendency to worry too much? How about a hyper-caffeinated little rodent zipping about and panicking?
The possibilities are virtually limitless. And chances are, you’ll need more than one. (I’ve probably got an entire zoo of them!)
Have Your Zoo Characters At The Ready
Make these funny characters ahead of time. Have them at the ready. Then deploy these characters for instant mindfulness. They lighten the mood before you start down a dark mental tunnel. You know how hard it is once the momentum entraps you. Escaping seems monumental. But if you can catch it before it’s too late, and let loose your cartoon character to raise your awareness, you can “avoid the road” all together.
Assigning the characters to the emotions takes a bit of time. Allow yourself the time to carry out the task. Make it enjoyable and fun… “Oh great, here comes worry-mouse again.” “Grumpy-goat is out on patrol now…” etc.
At first, you may face some difficulty remembering to call them up, into service. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll see just how effective they are.
And as for the monster that sits on your shoulder and calls you an idiot, think up an especially compassionate one for it. It needs a lot of love. After all, on some level, it thinks it’s helping you in some way. But perhaps that’s a story for another time.