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A Single Thought Has the Power to Create or Destroy
A single thought has the power to influence your emotions, attitudes, and behaviors—all of which are responsible for how you feel on the inside and the outcomes you create on the outside. The ability to think is one of the greatest human powers, because when harnessed with intention, it can be your most valuable asset, but when misused, it can be your most destructive tool. You can connect with your mind’s innate qualities and utilize your thoughts to manifest what you desire, but when thoughts are left unguarded, they can call in your greatest fears. Either way, thoughts are ultimately responsible for the reality you create.
Here are some things to think about:
- You have 6,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day.
- Typically 80% of your thoughts are negative.
- 95% of your decisions and behaviors are driven by your subconscious/ unconscious mind.
- 47% of the time you are in a “wandering state”, thinking about events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or may never happen at all.
Being deliberate in focusing on how to think consciously requires you to understand the benefits of having both negative and positive thoughts. Negative thoughts can be helpful to alert you to people or situations that need your attention. Where negative thoughts are no longer serving you is when you let them land on self-criticism, self-loathing, pain, distress, stress, worry, fear, regret, guilt, and resentment.
Here are some strategies to consider:
Mindfulness is about approaching your present experience with the qualities of curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love. In mindfulness, you are intentionally directing attention and awareness of your thoughts and feelings, by interrupting habitual thought patterns and orienting your brain in the present moment.
Stop what you are doing for a moment and put your full attention on an object in front of you and observe it through your five senses.
- What noises do you hear?
- What scents do you smell?
- What details do you see?
- What might it taste like?
- What does it feel like?
Meditation is a mental exercise that develops your attention and awareness. This technique gives your mind the space to express itself and harness its power. When you practice meditation, your mind learns how to access the wealth of qualities that already exist within you. When you are able to access your most essential qualities, you naturally express them in the world around you.
- Take a seat in a quiet place and be still.
- Set a time limit for at least 5-10 minutes.
- Close your eyes and connect with your body.
- Follow your breath in and out.
- Notice your thoughts, return your attention to being present.
- Be kind to yourself without judgment.
Visualization is a simple technique that you can use to create a strong mental image of a future event by using your imagination to "picture" what you want as if it has already happened. Your brain sends the same messages to the central nervous system whether something is being imagined or actually experienced. Be mindful about what you are thinking and be very specific with what you want!
- Decide what you want.
- Picture it with as much detail as possible.
- Identify how this will make you feel.
- Rinse & repeat daily.
Training your brain to identify negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and balanced thoughts is crucial in breaking the cycle of distortions which can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Learning how to identify these thoughts allows you to disrupt this thought process to improve the way you feel as well as your quality of life.
- Identify your negative thoughts.
- Connect with how the thoughts make you feel.
- For fear or anxiety, ask yourself, “What am I afraid will happen?”
- For sadness or depression, ask yourself, “What have I lost hope in?”
- For guilt or shame, ask yourself, “What is my responsibility in this situation?”
- For anger, ask yourself, “What feels unfair about this situation?”
- Reframe thoughts to be positive by adding gratitude and a lesson learned. Decide if action needs to be taken.
What you focus on is powerful and has a ripple effect. Change your thoughts and your feelings change, then when your feelings change your action changes, and your results will be different. What you pay attention to will shape your experiences, your relationships, and your life. Only by mastering your inner world can you successfully navigate your outer world.
Your thoughts are steering you and your life somewhere—make it somewhere you want to go.
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