NOT HAPPY WITH WHERE YOUR THOUGHTS TOOK YOU?
Rather than our minds being the boss, we can start to master our own minds. It is key to listen, get to know your thought tendencies, acknowledge the underlying messages, make peace with your thoughts and retrain where/when needed. Remember to always maintain an attitude of compassion when approaching thought control, our minds have downloaded years of information from our environment and experiences.
Below are six tips that might help you land in a more desirable place:
TIP 1: LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND
Our thoughts are just like people, they have a need to be listened to and understood. Before we can shift our thoughts, we have to listen to and acknowledge them. Once our minds know we are paying attention to them, they can relax and let us guide them in a different direction. We might even initially thank our minds for reminding ourselves to not repeat mistakes from our past.
TIP 2: BE AT PEACE
No matter how negative, intense or off the wall you find your thoughts – learn to make peace with them. If you were trying to avoid a fight with an aggressive person, would you run into their fist when they are swinging? Probably not. Remember that pain usually lies underneath anger. Once the thoughts simmer, become a detective and try to figure out what your thoughts are truly saying.
TIP 3: THOUGHTS ARE NOTHING BUT THOUGHTS.
Because we cannot physically see our thoughts, it might be hard to step outside of them. Hence it’s easy to accept them as they are rather than stop to consider how much they are influenced by our environment, physical state, relationships, what we read and what we see. We can let ourselves fall prey to our mental habits or take the time to change the unhealthy ones into healthy thinking. ,
TIP 4: STOP AND OBSERVE
Meditation is simple – all you need to do is hit the pause button and shift from doer to observer. Even just 1-5 minutes of mindfulness will go a long way. What must precede knowledge? Time. We must take the time to get to know our minds and what thoughts they tend towards. It’s just like any relationship – in oder to develop knowledge of and respect for – we must spend time with the other party. Start checking in with your mind on a daly basis, otherwise it may have you “checking out” of life a bit too much 😉
TIP 5: REWIRE NEGATIVE PATTERNS
Most of us are familiar with the sayings “we are what we repeatedly do” and “we see what we believe”. Our thinking literally becomes patterned in our brains through specific neural connections. In essence, our minds can become stuck on autopilot. Before we can get off of autopilot, we have to acknowledge the negative patterns we are stuck in and how they are biasing our perceptions. We must refocus our mind on the PRESENT experience rather reacting in ways that belong to our past.
TIP 6: EMBRACE THE MESSAGE WITH COMPASSION
We cannot change our gut reactions nor the thoughts they bring, but we can change how we react to them. Some of us may have been taught to believe that negative thoughts are wrong. Yet in actuality if we judge our feelings, we may be missing the signals they are trying to give us. Instead of criticizing ourselves, we can support the needs that we may be neglecting. When we manage our vulnerable thoughts properly we end up in a place of growth that leads to confidence and strength. Take the time to navigate the difficult feelings while staying grounded in the present and seeing through the right perspective. Focus on the message underlying the negative emotion, not the emotion itself.