Most of us are so busy thinking our way through life that we rarely stop to consider what impact our thoughts may be having on our quality of life. I know that I sure as heck never gave what was going on in my head a second thought until it started to drive me crazy.
That’s when I began investigating the power of the mind and thoughts to influence my feelings and behaviors. It wasn’t long before I understood that thoughts are real forces in our life and there was plenty of evidence to support this fact.
Further research into the power of mind and thoughts revealed that it’s estimated we have around fifty to sixty thousand thoughts a day on average. If you think that might sound a little over the top, then stop reading for just 1-minute and write down everything that pops int your head. No filtering, just a 100% brain dump.
Once you’ve done that, then multiply the number of words you see on the page by 1440. This is how many minutes there are in a day. When you consider that we have both conscious thoughts and subconscious thoughts happening all the time even while we sleep, then you can see how the numbers quickly add up.
That’s just the beginning, though. Each thought has an energy attached to it that has either a positive or negative energy associated with it. For example, when we are thinking happy, compassionate, loving and optimistic thoughts, then the energy is positive.
When we are anxious, worrying, depressed, frustrated or unhappy, then the energy is negative. What this means is that whatever thoughts we focus on most of the time will ultimately determine our overall quality of life. Why is this? Because our thoughts influence our decisions, emotions, actions and results.
A simple thought that runs through your mind and that you get caught up in can be the reason your day is filled with either pleasure or pain, calm or chaos. Stressful or anxious thoughts are the reason why so many people end up taking medication just so they can relax, or sleep better. They simply don’t know how to deal with them.
So if thoughts have that much power to influence our decisions, moods, and actions what you do to reduce the amount of power and influence limiting or negative thoughts have in your life? The first thing to do is to acknowledge that you are not just your mind.
It’s because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of identifying ourselves by what we think and feel. When something’s not right in our head we tend to believe that something’s not right with us. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many more dimensions to who we are that even having a Soul and a Spirit doesn’t cover it.
The only time that our thoughts and feelings have the power to control our mental and physical state is when we allow ourselves to get caught up in them. When that happens, then we become a victim of our own doing. This is because we choose to believe in what our mind and emotions are telling us, rather than remembering that we have the power to choose our own reality.
What if we could train the mind to not get caught up in thoughts and feelings that we’d rather not dwell on? What if we could teach ourselves to pick and choose those thoughts that we want to focus on or react to? The great news is that we can and the way to that is through observing them.
How To Observe Thoughts And Feelings
First of all, what does it even mean to observe your thoughts and feelings, and how is this even possible? The reason why we can do this is because what sets us apart from most other life forms on the planet is our capacity to be self-aware. Not only are we able to be self-aware, we can also be aware of our ability to think and feel which is known as expanded self-awareness.
The way we do this is through mindfulness meditation. This simply means that we have the capacity to be mindful of what we are thinking or feeling in the present moment with non-judgmental awareness.
You can experience it for yourself right now if you want. Just take a few slow, deep breaths and then close your eyes and notice the thoughts in your head come and go without judging them, or doing anything about them. It’s a bit like fluffy white clouds peacefully float by in the sky, where the clouds are the thoughts in your head.
When you take the time to simply observe your thoughts and feelings without getting attached to them that’s when the mind starts to naturally quiet down. We can’t force the mind to stop chattering but we can train it to fade into the background. When that happens, then we instantly start to feel calmer, more energized and clearer in the head.
Sometimes, you’ll get caught up in a train of thought or some feelings that arise from something you are thinking about and that’s okay. It’s perfectly natural to get distracted from the present moment by something that comes up for you. The key is how quickly you can remind yourself to bring your attention back to watching your thoughts and feelings.
This may mean that you need to focus on your breath for a few minutes until these thoughts or feelings pass on by. The good news is that they will always pass on by because that’s the way the mind and body works. Nothing is meant to get stuck in our head or body. It’s all meant to come and go with the least amount of interruption possible.
What you were thinking and feeling last year will be different from this year because you are not the same person you were then. The same is true for the future. What you’ll be thinking and feeling will change. What remains the same though is that your body will always exist in the present moment.
That’s why we use the breath or even the body as a way to stay focused on the present. The more we train the mind to be aware of the present, the happier, healthier and more alive we become.
By giving your thoughts and feelings space to be allowed to come and go without judgment is the greatest gift of freedom that you will ever give to yourself. We are not meant to be a slave to the mind or our emotions. They are there to serve us to make decisions and do things in our life that help us celebrate that we are here.
Never for a moment doubt that you are so much more than you might give yourself credit for. There really are no limits to who you become when you start to step back from any limiting or negative thoughts may be holding onto about yourself.
Don’t expect that just one session of mindfulness meditation will improve the quality of your life. Consistent practice on a daily basis is the key. Even if that’s just for a few minutes a day. Ideally, you want to aim for 20 to 30 minutes of meditation a day for maximum benefits.
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