Q2 - Do You Pay Attention To Your Thoughts?
Following my previous post, asking if you have enough space in your life to create and cultivate a healthy mindset, my next question to you is “do you pay attention to your thoughts?”
Our thoughts are powerful. Our thoughts can empower and encourage us or they can sabotage and make us feel unworthy. Our thoughts also dictate our emotions and pre-empt our behaviours and actions.
Think about it ( ;) )...
”I am confident I can deliver this presentation and get my point across clearly and succinctly.”
”oh my gosh, I’m not prepared, why did they pick me?! I don’t know as much as Dan about this topic, what if I forget something? Ugh I’m not going to do well.”
Which one of those thoughts is more productive, empowering, and encouraging?
Of course the first one! Yet, how often are you allowing yourself to have the second thought? How often are you allowing negative, discouraging, and self-sabotaging thoughts to play over and over again in your mind?
Did you know that the thoughts racing through your mind on a moment-to-moment basis have the power to build up or tear down your physical and mental health? Yup, true story! That’s what the biology of belief is, the study of our thoughts on our biology, the piece of work from Dr Bruce Lipton is fascinating. Beliefs are thoughts we continue to think, so to change our beliefs, we need to change our recurring thoughts.
So, if your thoughts can alter the cells in your body, are you paying attention to what they are saying? If not, why not?
For me, it was because it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to sit quietly and listen to what I was actually saying to myself. It can be really uncomfortable to hear what you’re saying to yourself. Yet, the reality is, the longer you leave your thoughts unchecked, the longer you ignore them and hide them behind “busyness” and external distractions - the longer you are allowing them to derail you, sabotage you, and rob you of our joy, peace, and harmony. And, change the cellular makeup of your body!
So, how can you start paying attention to your thoughts without getting overwhelmed?
Here are 3 easy and simple things you can do to get started...
1 - Note down your thoughts throughout the day
You don’t need to be too intense about this, but regularly check-in and pay attention to what you’re thinking about. A great prompt or reminder can be when you notice yourself feeling frustrated, stressed, anxious or overwhelmed - pause and listen to the thoughts going through your mind. Negative thoughts will create negative emotions and positive thoughts will create positive emotions - it’s science - Dr Lipton says so.
When you note down and recognise your thoughts you will be in a better position to change the thought to one that makes you feel better and that serves you. When you’re thinking “ugh I hate this job and hate being here” you will feel crap and the hours will move slower - if you change it to “this job gives me a good pay check which I can use to build my side business” you will feel a sense of gratitude for what you have and bring a new energy to your work.
2 - Get out of your head
You might think this is counter to what this blog is about “paying attention to your thoughts” but my view is, paying attention to your thoughts is equally as important as learning not to be consumed by them. If you can regularly practice getting out of your head for 5-10mins at a time and instead be present in the moment (practicing mindfulness), you can start to change your relationship with your thoughts and how much power they have over you.
You can use meditation to do this, whether that’s an app, heading for a walk or focusing particular attention on doing something i.e. making a cup of tea you can create space between your thoughts, the response it creates and the reaction that you might have.
3 - Write down positive, encouraging, and empowering thoughts (affirmations) you can repeat to start shifting to a better feeling inner dialogue
When was the last time you really said anything good about yourself and your situation? What can you say more of that is encouraging and supportive for you? Psychology Today found that the average person has 50,000 negative thoughts a day!! 50,000!!!! Isn’t that INTENSE?! Oh my gosh! No wonder our world is filled with so much negativity. When we talk think negatively we usually react negatively and the cycle continues.
So, what positive things can you start saying to yourself and to others? In what ways can you rethink your thoughts to frame them more positively to shift how you feel and how you see situations?
Try some of these:
I am worthy
I am loveable
I am in charge of how I feel
I am in charge of how I show up
I am healthy
Your thoughts hold so much power, so ensure that the power you are harnessing from those thoughts serve you and don’t derail you!
One of the biggest areas that I focus on with my coaching clients is their thoughts and and we work together on creating a healthier and more positive inner dialogue. It’s honestly incredible to see how their whole life starts to change as they start to change their thoughts.