You're sitting there kind of zoned out and all of a sudden someone says "what are you thinking?" and it pulls you out of your reverie. You probably answer "uh, nothing. What's up"?
Does that sound familiar? You may actually believe the "nothing" part of that story but it's not true. There is almost no moment during any day that you are NOT thinking something.
The challenge I have for you is to pay attention to what you are thinking ALL the time. Decide to be diligent for at least ONE day this week (preferably more) to monitoring your thoughts - be your own "Big Brother". You'll be very surprised.
It's pretty simple - you can use a small notebook you can carry in your pocket or your purse or you could even use a portable recording device (there are many apps for your smartphone that would serve that purpose).
Yes, I know you have to work and you have to take care of your family and more. But these busy times are the times when you'll usually find the most revealing thoughts - things like:
- "I can't believe it, I don't have any time to myself"
- "I'm so overwhelmed"
- "Gees, what more do they expect me to do"?
- "Get out of my way damnit, I'm in a hurry"
- "I'm so stressed out. I can't take it any more"
- "I hate this job (or fill in any blank)"
- "It sucks to be me"
- "Why me"?
- "I can't win"
- "I can't catch a break"
- "How did I get myself in this mess"?
- "I'm so angry/mad/p.o'ed"
- "I'm afraid that ......"
- "I'm so tired"
- "I'm sick and tired of ......."
- "You're killing me with all this"
- "I'm so ashamed that...."
- "I"m so embarrassed"
- "I wonder what he's looking at"
- "I wish I weren't so ..... (fat, dumb, stupid, lazy, etc)"
- "I wonder what would happen if..."
- "I'll never get all this done"
- "That's ugly"
- "I wish I had that"
- "God I'm starved"
These are just a few common thoughts I came up in a few seconds. There are millions more that you have going through your mind repeatedly. The key word is "repeatedly" - we think the same things (perhaps with minor variations" over and over again. And if you remember how Abraham defines a belief, it's "a thought we keep thinking over and over again". So, guess what? You're creating or reinforcing beliefs with all these "simple" thoughts.
Write down (make an effort) or record all your thoughts. It is important that you pay attention to all of them, not just the good ones, not just the bad ones - all of them. The idea is so that you can see how your thoughts balance out - what percentage of the time do you spend thinking positive thoughts and how much time do you spend thinking less than positive thoughts. And then, what thoughts are you repeating throughout the day - whether positive or not. Those are the ones you're cementing in your subconscious as beliefs. You really want to make a conscious choice about what beliefs you cultivate, don't you?
When you write these thoughts down, pay attention to what's going on at that time - are you stressed, relaxed, working out, in the car, what? Make sure to pay attention to any follow-on thoughts and actions. For instance, if, after you think, "God I'm starved", you head to the snack machine or the refrigerator and pick something you wouldn't necessarily describe as "healthy", write down what thoughts (if any) are going through your mind as you hit that button or pull open the frig door. Is it "I really shouldn't be doing this" or is it "some chips or ice cream is just what I need right now". Perhaps you're not even thinking - you're just rushing to the machine so that you can take the food to numb the feelings. Unfortunately, you may be using the food to numb the feelings (stress, overwhelm etc) but you're probably still thinking while you're doing it. And you've made a conscious choice to pick the food regardless of the negative thoughts because feeling the pain from the emotion is worse than feeling the guilt or shame from having eaten that ice cream. Some people use cigarettes, alcohol, food, drugs, abuse, exercise or many other actions to keep from feeling certain emotions. Do you want to keep using your "drug of choice"? Or do you want to change your behavior? If you want to change your behavior you have to change your thoughts.
Here's a short example. Yesterday was the day runners could try to get into a popular 100 mile race (Umstead- one I know I could do well at). I had planned the day around the "registration attempt" time (11 am my time) and I'd used affirmations and beliefs that I was definitely going to get in. I had written in my gratitude journal every day that I was grateful that I got into Umstead 2014 (being specific so that the Universe knew that this was the one I meant, not sometime in the future).
11 a.m. came and I tried and to make a long story short, I didn't get in. I could have spent the rest of the day being really bummed out and saying that all this stuff really doesn't work and I'm just a hypocrite, blah blah blah. But you know what? That would have done absolutely nothing but bring my mood and vibration way down. I chose not to experience that so I realized that "everything always works out for me" (Lord knows I've experienced that so many times in my long life) and began to think about the alternative runs I could do or apply for. And my day improved. It took some conscious work but I chose to feel good, not to plummet to the depths of despair which I could easily have done had I not paid attention to my thoughts.
Are you up for this challenge? Can you commit to at least one day and hopefully more? Let us know by putting your comments in the box below.
Have a great day!