A calm mind is the mind that gives us the most productivity but sometimes it is hard to achieve in a chaotic day in the office with the demands of technology, people and work.
We have around 60,000 thoughts a day and every thought that you have has some ripple-creating power a bit like the way a ripple is created when you throw a stone into a completely flat pond. Sometimes the ripple effect creates an impact far and wide, for the positive and for the negative.
So my question to you is, what kind of thoughts do you feed your mind with?
If we have on average about 60,000 thoughts a day then ask yourself how many of yours are positive and how many are negative? Humans err on the side of negativity most of the time so we need to watch our thoughts carefully to ensure every day doesn’t get clogged up with negative thinking. Because as we know when all we see is negativity that is what is reflected into our daily life.
Thought patterns are created a bit like physical patterns — by forming habits and rituals. You brush your teeth every night, you go to the gym 3 times a week or take your vitamins every night before going to sleep. When you repeat a certain course of action long enough (30–60 days) it becomes a pattern/habit. The same goes for your thinking pattern.
So for example if you start thinking a negative way, and you practice this negative mindset long enough, it becomes a pattern. But the key thing to remember is, it’s a lot harder getting to grips with your thinking pattern, than it is when we do regular physical activities that may not be good for us.
We know the best way to break a certain habit is to come up with a plan to stop doing it permanently. But, when it comes to changing your thinking pattern, it’s easier said than done.
Thoughts can be very sneaky. They want to cling to your attention because without your attention, they’re powerless and get lost. You may find that one single thought can lead you so far away from the present moment that you end up being consumed by that one thought and flow on effects for hours, instead of being aware of the present. The more you feed your thoughts with attention, the stronger they get, and eventually, you lose all control over how you think.
Are you in control of your thoughts, or are you just a spectator of the chaos that is unraveling in your own mind?
The first step toward gaining control over your thoughts is finding the roots of your thinking pattern. To do this we need to stalk our thoughts! What are the things that are repetitive, negative, positive, creative, emotional or empowering?
Often our unhelpful thinking patterns get triggered by an event or person and these negative thinking patterns are often related to a problem not visible on the surface, so you must trace it back to the origin of the trigger. Maybe an event from the past won’t let you move on, or you can’t forgive yourself for an opportunity that you missed; whatever the reason is, you need to pinpoint to the exact issue that causes a negative stream of thoughts that continue to shape your tomorrows.
Only when you have identified the trigger can you cut the cords of the existing pattern. When you do, you will know exactly what tools to use to tackle the problem and detect when this negative thinking pattern tries to return again.
Remember that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. How many times have you had your day ruined over insignificant things that we can’t stop ruminating over? Why do we let stuff that won’t even matter tomorrow screw up our entire day?
When we allow emotions to mess with our rational thinking, we completely lose control over our reactions to any kind of situation.
Practicing mindfulness allows you to detach yourself from thoughts and emotions and view them as objects that float past you. Mindfulness allows you to reach a high level of awareness in which you become an observer of your thoughts and emotions and gain control over your reactions. In other words, you control which thoughts and emotions are worthy of your attention.
Try this exercise… When you find yourself over thinking or feeling anxious, sit down, play some soothing music, and focus all your attention on your breathing. Take deep and slow breaths and try to think only about inhaling and exhaling. If any thoughts come to mind don’t attach to them, don’t give them any significance, let them just slide by and just try to clear your mind. Isolate yourself from all unnecessary distractions and simply be in your happy place.
The objective of mindfulness is to gain control over your thoughts. Instead of choosing to follow and chase your thoughts on a never-ending journey, you see them as an outsider. Mindfulness gives you the ability to create a new thinking pattern, a thinking pattern where your own consciousness is centre stage.
By being mindful you become completely aware of your thinking pattern, and by being very aware of your thoughts you can recognise their quality.
When you achieve this you will have a much better chance, on how to conquer the negative thinking pattern and live a happier life.