Not Now Nagatha!

29 Jan 2018

"Nagatha," is the name I have given my inner nag. "Nagatha Scritchy," to be more precise. I was thinking about her as a result of nights of mental anguish and lost sleep over some challenges I'm facing. She's not very nice, but does seem to be the dominant voice in my thoughts when I'm under pressure.

This puts me in mind of two excellent resources - both for children. The first is the original film, "Inside Out." The film follows the role of five personalised emotions inside the main character's head. The emotions are joy, fear, disgust, sadness, and anger. Each directs the actions of the girl, Riley, as she navigates through the complexities of life's relationships and experiences. Recognised for its excellence, I would suggest the film is a 'must see' for all of us interested in what makes us tick.

In my life, at the moment, Nagatha seems to be at the helm far too often!

I'd prefer Joy instead.

The second resource is a wonderful book about parental neglect called, "Not Now, Bernard!" by David McKee. Spoiler alert - I'm about to reveal the plot! Bernard wants the attention of his parents but they are too busy with life's other activities (such as watching television). His life itself is in peril from a monster in his bedroom - and, unfortunately for Bernard, the monster prevails - gobbling him up. The monster then seeks to intimidate the parents, but they pay it just as little attention as they did to Bernard. The result is that the monster is disempowered and ends up simply going to bed - ignored.

"Not now, Nagatha!"

I wondered if this is a strategy that could work for you and me, when there is an unhelpful emotion or 'state' seemingly at the controls in our head. I have started to say, privately of course, "Not now, Nagatha!" and the humour is working... a bit.

I remember being shocked by a phrase in the Gospels - where Jesus couldn't work many miracles in one location because people just didn't believe in Him. (Mark 6:5) Flipping this, it would be great to develop an equally impactful lack-of-faith in Nagatha! Wouldn't it be great if she couldn't work her damage because of my lack of faith in her? Why do we give the voice of worry such credence?

What strategies do you use to ignore, negate, dis-empower, or otherwise deal with unhelpful states-of-mind and negative thinking?


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