Thoughts about Thoughts13th August 2017
Thoughts about Thoughts
Thoughts are important, I think we’d probably all agree with that. It is our thoughts that in time give rise to our feelings and our actions. Everything that happens begins with a thought whether, it is something simple like standing up, lifting a cup or planning a holiday, deciding to move house even having a brilliant idea. Everything for the Taj Mahal to the light bulb began with a thought. So thoughts are powerful and thoughts have a creative energy.
They are also under our control. It doesn’t always feel like that as sometimes our brains can get into ever decreasing circles with anxious or worried thoughts, or negative spirals where we berate ourselves and beat ourselves up, or angry or resentful thought patterns that feel hard to escape but with practice we can learn to control them. That is not to say it is easy but it is possible and it is something we need to learn if we are to see changes in our lives.
We certainly can’t control what happens in our lives but we can control how we respond to what happens in our lives and part of that response is to do with our thoughts. Imagine that you hear something that upsets you – often what is the cause of greatest distress is not the news, though that may be distressing, but our thoughts about that news. Let’s have a concrete example to explain this. You hear of a terrorist attack, upsetting on every level but if you let your thoughts run away in a short time you can be reviewing decisions to travel or even seeing certain groups of people as dangerous. Our thoughts can change our response to the event. If on the other hand we think that while it was a distressing or tragic event it is only a very small percentage of people who would behave in such ways and that generally the world is a safe place for most people so then we probably wouldn’t radically alter our plans. It is our thoughts ABOUT the event or situation that shape our response.
Our thoughts also impact our feelings. Imagine a relationship break up – almost always upsetting to some degree. But if we let ourselves think that it was all our fault that we are unlovable that we’ll never be happy in our relationships then we are almost guaranteed to feel worse than we would if we think that there will be others, that we deserve and can find fulfilling relationships. It might not take away the pain but out thoughts can either make that pain worse or a little better.
Conscious and Subconscious thoughts
I can’t do this justice in one simple blog post but we all know that our brains, like icebergs have a huge subconscious ‘part’ which is pretty busy all the time. The conscious thoughts are really only the tiny tip of that iceberg. So let’s start by managing our conscious thoughts, literally one thought at a time. A negative or worrying thought happens and we just have to learn to bat it away and change it for a more positive one. Literally thought by thought. If you start doing that you will notice the difference very quickly, not just to the amount of negative thoughts you have which will almost certainly reduce but also to your feelings and when your thoughts and feelings become more positive your actions will as well. Some thoughts may stem from unhelpful mind sets and limiting beliefs that we might have, even if we don’t realise it but by dealing with each thought these will lessen.
When it comes to subconscious thoughts there are also things we can do – click here to read more about how we can harness the power of our subconscious.
One of the most important choices we make is with our thoughts. It is in our power to choose one thought instead of another. I’m not saying it is easy BUT it definitely is possible and if you change your thoughts quite literally you can change your life.
Whatever day of the week it is when you read this just start to notice your conscious thoughts about the things that happen. Every time you are aware of a negative or unhelpful thought then try to change that into a positive thought or if that feels too tough at least a neutral thought. So instead of, for example feeling angry because you are thinking that the car in front of you is driving really slowly – change that thought. Remind yourself that actually it will probably make very little difference to your arrival time. Or be grateful that you have a car that it is working well. Or think about the destination that you are going somewhere because you have a purpose. It might sound trite at first but it honestly does make a difference