What are you Thinking?
I would love to know exactly what you were thinking about before you stumbled onto this blog? Perhaps it was a happy thought? Perhaps not? Very many people have a tendency to think negative thoughts. Basically this means that your subconscious mind has a bad habit of thinking about things that bring you down. It is used to repeating things like, you are not good enough, you should feel guilty, what if you screwed something up? What you think can almost feel like it is not in your control. But the good news is that it absolutely is in your control!
Step 1. Admit you are doing it. Look at the thought and start to understand how much it interferes with your daily life. Think about when it pops up? Does this thought interrupt a party, distract you from a Netflix show or keep you up at night? Does it interfere with a date and perhaps hinder your date’s ability to get to know you? If you have experienced any of this go on to step 2.
Step 2. Challenge the thought. It is there for some reason but it is time to take charge. So first ask yourself if this thought requires you to take action. Is there some task that you actually need to do in order to address this thought? If the answer is no and you are just thinking it over and over again then ask yourself if it is making you happy? If the thought is not making you happy it would make sense to change the thought. You may believe this is impossible but it really is just your subconscious mind wanting to keep you thinking negatively. It doesn’t intentionally want to punish you but it is all it has ever learned to do. Imagine your subconscious mind is running on autopilot and you are about to jump in the driver seat.
Step 3. Stand up to the thought. If you are watching your favorite show and you have a thought about a silly disagreement you had earlier with your boyfriend, one that you both agreed was over. Stand up to the thought. You can even speak to it and say “thanks for reminding me I had a silly disagreement earlier but I am loving this show so leave me alone.” Then force your focus back to the show. This negative thought is going to pop back up but each time it does you replace it and go back to the show. This takes practice. But much like going to the gym as you exercise your mind it will get healthier. Let’s do one more example! You are sitting at the dinner table with some guests. You are engaged in a great conversation and you start thinking…I should get up and do the dishes, I have been sitting here laughing for too long, I can miss a few minutes of this fun conversation to productively take care of these dishes. You could get up and do the dishes. But I can assure you another negative message is lurking. Instead of doing the dishes tell the thought to shut up. Go back to enjoying the fun time you are having with your friends. I understand 2 seconds later the dirty dishes almost start waving at you. Stand up to the thought again. And over time you will learn to sit and enjoy the conversation.
Now just to refresh there are times you need to take action. If you over reacted to the silly disagreement with your boyfriend perhaps you need to call him and apologize. If your house is on the market and you have a showing in an hour you better get up and wash those dishes and the counters too. But if that thought is just trying to pull you away from enjoying something it is time to stand up to it. If you want to take this to the next level you can try to imagine who the voice really is? You might discover the voice is a parent or relative that planted this message in your mind many years ago. So ask yourself if the message is relevant today? Is it making you happy?