“Change your thinking. Change your life! Your thoughts create your reality. Practice positive thinking. Act the way you want to be, and soon you will be the way you act.” – Les Brown
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Easier said than done but it is the best work you will ever do for yourself!
Every day we have around 60, 000 thoughts a day and we as humans have an innate ability to not only observe our own thoughts but have another thought about the thought we observed and then judge ourselves having that thought, all in the one breath.
You may think, wow, 60,000 thoughts how am I ever going to manage my mind? But not all of these thoughts need changing.
It’s important that we uncover the default thoughts we have on a daily basis that no longer serve us so we can start thinking and feeling better.
If are wanting to have different results in life, we must first start with our thoughts.
Every day 80-90% of those 60,000 thoughts are repeated thoughts from yesterday, they have become so habitual that we don’t even realise we are thinking them.
How does a thought become so default you may ask?
Each time we think the same thought it is reinforcing the maylin sheething on that neaural pathway in the brain, making it a stronger and familiar thought to think.
Have you every driven home and when you arrived, thought to yourself – I don’t remember stopping at those stop lights or going past that place – you had driven that route so many times you were on autopilot.
Our brains are magnificent machines and they do this to preserve it’s energy for survival reasons. When we become so comfortable doing the same thing every day, with those default thoughts., we’re on autopilot.
And when we learn something new we are creating a new neural pathway that is not a well driven road yet, so it takes conscious effort and energy to think those new thoughts.
This is why we struggle to make change in our lives and why it takes so long to build a new habit, because our brain is creating new neural pathways that needs repetition and time to develop. It can take up to 2 months for a new thought or behaviour to become a habit.
Think of an area of your life that you are dissatisfied with, where your results are not what you’d like them to be and ask yourself; “How do you feel about that area and what thoughts come to mind when you think about it”.
Are they positive thoughts and feelings? Do those thoughts make us feel motivated and inspired?
If not, it might be time to change them.
Mastering your Inner Critic
Sometimes we don’t even realise we’re having an unhelpful thought about an area of our lives because those negative thoughts or the inner chatter has become so default that we don’t even recognise it anymore.
The first step in creating a new habit or making a change in our lives it to first recognise the negative inner chatter and start changing that.
It’s important when that when we start to build awareness around those negative thoughts, that we have the awareness without judgement. Let’s be kind to ourselves. Judging ourselves and our thoughts is what got us the unhappy results in the first place.
one activity that I suggest with my clients is to start noting down the negative thoughts you have into a notepad daily. Especially notice your thoughts around when you feel triggered (experiencing negative emotions)or reactive. Notice when you start doing something that you no longer serves you and start noticing the thoughts you had before you did that behaviour.
Consider these: When you are procrastinating, eating food for other reasons than being hungry, feeling the need to drink or numb yourself, self sabotaging behaviours, or spending money frivolously.
Notice when your inner critic is saying hurtful or disrespectful things. Is this something you actually believe? Or is it someone else’s voice, from that one time someone said something awful to you?
Here are some techniques I use and suggest you try to be able to stop that inner mean girl/boy from being hurtful.
Stop/Cancel/Choose Technique; Become aware what thought you’d like to change. Say out loud, Stop/Cancel and then choose a more empowering thought to think.
Argue with it; If it is a really strong belief that you repeat over and over and you know you don’t want to think that anymore, have a rip roaring argument with that inner critic. Say it all out loud if you like, it is so powerful(for you and your subconscious mind) to say out loud the reason why you are no longer choosing to believe that thought.
What would love do?; Stop that inner critic in its tracks and ask yourself “What would love do in this situation? What would love say?”
Forgiveness is a beautiful thing; Sometime we need to say sorry to ourselves and our inner child for all the hurtful things we have said and done. Try writing a forgiveness letter to yourself, releasing all past hurts and words.
Your past doesn’t not equal your future
When we have a new experience in life, our brains filter the information through all of our past experiences we have ever had and through a need to be efficient, it then files it with a similar experience.
So often, when we think about doing something new we reflect on if we have been successful at it in the past, or if we’ve tried it and failed.
The way we think about the past and about certain experiences shapes our we feel today and also shapes our behaviour today and tomorrow. If you let it.
You have a choice to reflect on past experiences and make them mean whatever you choose to make them mean.
Even if they were distressing, painful times – you can choose to take the lesson with the experience and make it mean something empowering rather than dis empowering.
Take some time to reflect on any past experiences that may be affecting you today and spend some time reframing how you would like to think about that event.
For instance; say you got fired and it was a terrible experience for you. You could make it mean it was the worst thing that ever happened to you.
Or you could reframe it and make it mean, it shaped who you are today, it helped you deal with rejection and not only that, has got you to where you are today.
It’s all just a change of your perspective. When you can reflect on a painful time and take the lesson in disguise and can shift how you feel about it, more positive thoughts and behaviours can help you create the change you want.
What’s your preference?
In your everyday life, as you go about your day, do you generally recognize everything you have in your life or everything that is missing?
Interesting how this has become another part of your default thinking. Recognizing this and shifting your perspective to a come to a place of gratitude also helps to shift the negative inner chatter and change your outlook on life.
It’s so fascinating to notice and start shifting your thoughts to everything you have, because not only does it make you feel better instantly, it also opens up new opportunities and more abundance into your life.
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is known to increase happiness levels by up to 25%. The practice of being grateful, not just for a day, but as an established habit, has been linked with numerous physical and emotional benefits and as such, has been shown to improve overall quality of life. Well worth it I think.
“You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.” – Brian Tracy
Our thoughts shape our whole experience of life and yet, it is a daily practice to change our thoughts for the better.
Let today be the day that you stop talking to yourself in a negative way, start recognising all the good you have in your life and let go of the pain from the past. You and your future are worth that commitment.
Everything can change when you choose a new thought and explore a new perspective.