We each think 60 – 70,000 thoughts a day, and apparently over 90% of those are just a repeat of yesterday’s. The same thoughts lead to the same choices, the same behaviours, the same experiences and, therefore, the same emotions; which then perpetuates the same thoughts…
This is what I learned as I was listening to Dr Joe Dispenz earlier in the week. He points out that our biology, neurocircuitry, neurochemistry, neurohormones, and even our genetic expression, stay exactly equal to how you think, act and feel.
None of this is new information, yet we are so consumed by our daily schedules we rarely take time to reflect and listen to ourselves.
When we think about trying to change the thoughts we have, it often feels overwhelming. Let’s face it trying to change just one thing is hard, but 60 - 70,000 things? However, as Dr Dispenza neatly points out, our feelings are directly linked to our thoughts and it’s a whole lot easier to change your experiences by taking charge of how you’re feeling.
About 5 years ago I attended a workshop though work where we were challenged to really think about some of our own internal dialogues. I remember sitting at a table where there were three of us who summed up a recurring thought pattern we owned as “idiot”. It’s fair to say we were a bunch of pretty driven people with little patience. It’s also fair to say that this is not the kind of thought pattern that was going to lead to the life we each dreamed of.
“feeling good has to be more important to you than anything else”
Probably like you, I take on these nuggets and then life (or the 58,000 or so thoughts/ reactions I have every day) carries me on a wave of autopilot. How do we break the pattern? Well it is pretty simply, feeling good has to be more important to you than anything else. Remember though, simple and easy are two different things.
There was a point this week when I was trying to get my two preschool children focused enough to get out the door to their respective daytime activities, in time for me to get to an important appointment.
Inevitably, just on the cusp of thinking I’d magically managed to keep the chaos contained in a fast flowing steam of activity that led to getting in the car and going, each daughter wanted something extra – unplanned – that was absolutely necessary to them (by this I mean completely unnecessary in the mind of a rational human being).
It’s at this point I no longer heard the calm in my voice, instead I heard a mix of anger, pleading and frustration welling up all at once. Again, inevitably this just escalates the situation. Now I feel bad, and I have a choice, do I keep sliding into those old thought patterns and just perpetuate more bad feeling, or do I nip it in the bud?
I chose the out-of-body surrender experience, disconnecting from any thought of time pressure, connecting with a feeling of having all the time in the world. My calm voice was back, I soothed the children trying to focus on how to help them feel good, and we soon got underway. Everything worked out; we were on time and fairly unscathed.
By contrast (in case anyone should get the idea I’m anything less than a very imperfect being), I slipped right back into those old thought patterns like a pair of comfortable old slippers that night when my partner arrived home asking me a ‘dumb’ question. Snap. Those 50 – 60,000 repeat thoughts all just clipping the ticket for the day and perpetuating exactly the opposite type of experience I wanted.
Eckhart Tolle is definitely on the money when he points out the appeal of animals, because there’s no veil of judgment that exists; which is what generally exists between humans. Every time we interact with another our minds are busy interpreting so many signals based on our past experiences.
Animals are simply closer to their natural state of being, there’s no intervention of the mind. They sense your energy but don’t judge it, they just accept it. Can you imagine if we could be disciplined enough to do that? Just suspending thought, stilling our mind, to simply be there for someone. It would change the quality of our experiences with others dramatically.
Obviously I was needing a big reminder this week to focus on the experiences I’m creating through my thoughts, because I accidently opened the YouTube app on my phone and heard Esther Hicks sharply telling me that while feeling bad is a part of the process of creating something great, I don’t need to spend so long in the contrast.
This is something most of us are very guilty of, we tend to put up with feeling bad far too much of the time and wait until an experience is mostly bad before really doing anything much about it.
Here’s the deal, we are all in the process of creating our own experience all of the time. Yes, starting right now you will have a mammoth amount of unconscious patterning that happens day to day. If your days aren’t filled with, let’s say, 80% feeling good, then there’s probably a hunger to feel better about life.
“Think of two thought patterns that you want to change.”
Chances are you’ll be blaming it on others and on situations. This is not helpful. Your experiences are not what happens to you, but how you respond – mentally and emotionally – to those things. At first, as Dr Dispenza suggests, just observe your feelings and thoughts on a couple of topics you know recur for you regularly.
In the heat of the moment it can be hard to make changes, but if you preplan for them you stand a better chance. If you know, like me, you’re prone to judging certain comments, looks or actions, and that the judgment creates a behaviour and therefore an experience that simply makes you feel bad, think about how you might respond differently – without judgment – in the moment, in a way that will make you feel good.
By focusing on feeling good more of the time, you’ll start to rewire your biology, neurocircuitry, neurochemistry, neurohormones, and even your genetic expression. Changing how you feel will change the way you think, which will change the way you behave, which in turn will change the quality of your life experiences immeasurably.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/34039290@N06/18662478972">water attack</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>
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