Do you know each and every thought that you have? Do you? Why not?
Isn’t it scary that we don’t have control over this most intimate of things. This basic thing that makes up our feeling of ‘I’ness. Thoughts are the thing that make up most of our personality. They color our actions, moods, emotions, choices we make consciously or in a knee jerk way.
Ok, so we are not aware of each and every thought , but do you know how many thoughts you have in a day? Nope. Not that either. Depending on who you ask, we have anywhere from 2,500 to 70,000 thoughts per day. (hmmm! I wonder how you would go about measuring that). So how do we control this most basic thing. We are our thoughts, yet we can’t control them.
Every science, every book, every success coach or leadership expert related to happiness or success focuses on one thing. Changing the nature of the thoughts. For e.g. one of the most prevalent techniques is affirmations. But you can do positive affirmations and have deep, lasting change. They are not really changing your thoughts and moods deep down. Because it is not possible to change our thoughts at the level of thought. For instance when you feel angry and you tell yourself to stop being angry, does it actually change your feeling. If anything it just makes you more angry. Or, if someone tells you to think of anything BUT a white elephant. What are you thinking of?
So how to change our thought patterns. How to make them positive so they have a positive impact on our lives?
First we need to know that what we call ‘positive thoughts’ are thoughts that are more in the present moment. I read somewhere that the best athletes have only around 1500 thoughts a day. The best in the world spend very little time worrying about the loss yesterday or how they are going to cover their alimony payments next month. Instead, they live more in the present moment. Most studies reveal that we spend 90% of our thinking either on yesterday or tomorrow. Notice the nature of your thoughts related to the past: guilt, anger, regret.
And the nature of thoughts about the future: anxiety, fear, restlessness.
Only in the present do we have positive thoughts and hence a positive mood. That’s why we are so fond of our hobbies. Think of your most favorite activity. Why do you love it? Because when you do it, you are only in the present moment. Why are kids so happy. Cause they live in the Now. So how can we increase that type of thinking and feeling in our lives more and more? How to condition our mind. Remember we cannot change our thoughts just by telling them to change.
Through the practice of things like yoga, pranayama, meditation. These things go beyond the superficial layers of your ‘being’ and condition it in a way that you are more and more in the present moment. So take time out to be in that quiet space for at least 20 minutes in a day.
(shameless plug alert here!) A good way to start is with our online customized Yoga videos. Set them to suit your level, your time availability and your needs. Live in good health, mental and physical.
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Wishing you peace, joy and happiness.
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