I think too much. And I think we all do. Yes, sometimes, thinking is great. Vital, even :)
But sometimes...it becomes the very act which destroys my, or our, existence.
Thoughts begin to swirl around my mind at super speed, unable to stop or slow down, just banging into each other like a truckload of loose jumping beans.
If it sounds intense, that’s because it is.
And the scary part? These never ending clumps of thought can actually destroy us.
As humans, we’re creatures of habit. Many of the thoughts we have today tend to be the same exact thoughts we had yesterday, the day before, and we will likely have tomorrow...unless we actively do something about it.
If what those scientists say is true, we have about 50,000 thoughts a day, and up to 98% of those thoughts can be rolling on repeat in our minds. What’s more worrying is that about 80% of our thoughts are “naturally” negative. I quote naturally because none of it is natural - it’s actually just what we’ve been conditioned to think, believe, assume, or judge - thanks to our environment and experiences and ahem, the news.
If the majority of our thoughts are negative, and the majority of our thoughts are on repeat...Houston, we have a problem.
Is this for real? Our minds, our thoughts, our WORDS are on autopilot towards complete and utter self-destruction. WTF?!
THE GOOD NEWS
What we may forget or not yet realize is how much control we have over our own thoughts. We can discern what is real from the toxic stories we make up in our minds, with incredible self-awareness and mental discipline.
The more aware we become of how we speak to our selves, the more we can shut up those little jumping beans with the right dose of self-strength.
Once we grab the power over our thoughts, imagine how much control we can have over our entire life. Control lovers, get happy! It’s your time to shine.
Once we can notice our repetitive and destructive tendencies, we can choose to take the reins and make the right kind of change.
Here are 5 harmful thought patterns that we humans tend to have. If you connect with any of these, take note.
When you can, notice and define each type of thought pattern and the emotions and triggers involved. Once you start questioning your common patterns, then you can actively work to change the ones which no longer suit you.
We make enough lists, why do we load our minds with logistics? Think about how much time you spend planning. Yes - it is a necessary function of life, and planning is vital, just like thinking. However, if you stop to think about how much time you think about planning - might it get a touch obsessive?
“Tomorrow, I’ll wear this, cook this, say this, do this, and this and this and this.”
Oh planning, you completely satisfy our love and need to control everything - even situations that haven’t happened yet! And creating that perfect plan in our head is likely just setting us up for disappointment anyway. We know plans don’t go according to plan - so why spend so much time planning about it?
When you catch yourself in a planning thought, ask yourself if it’s a necessary thought. Must you review your plan or can you let your energy flow somewhere more soothing?
How often do we create stories from absolute nothingness? EXHIBIT A > TEXT “If he doesn’t respond to me within 30 seconds, he probably hates me.”
I’ve done it. Once I convinced myself that my boyfriend didn’t really love me because he would send me i love u texts and not i love you texts (though maybe this is just a grammar guru’s pain point?)
Our thoughts build these stories from an imagined reality, most often when we feel challenged, threatened, opened, or vulnerable. Especially because our brains tend to assume the worst, the solution lies in how we communicate with one another.
One person may believe they are communicating their ideas clearly, while another person is hearing something totally different. It’s so important to leave the assumptions behind and feel okay asking direct and clarifying questions so we can understand one another as humans.
Have you ever lie in bed rehearsing conversations that haven’t even happened yet? Or worse, past conversations along with the killer one liner you wish you’d said? The he said/she said script we tend to play in our thoughts can be destructive and frankly, a waste of mind space.
If you’re asking your boss for a raise tomorrow (dear women, just a thought), maybe these rehearsals are needed. Prepping thoughts can be helpful for sure. The pattern becomes harmful when we play the inner dialogue and we can’t seem to stop it. When we catch our thoughts in rehearsal mode, it’s a good idea to pull yourself into the present moment by stating “I am here now.”
Whiskers on kittens with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that fall on my nose eyelashes. Daydreams can be filled with all of our favorite things, but they can also be plenty misleading.
We often replace reality with fantasy, exchanging mediocre happenings for grandiose visions. EXHIBIT B > Breakups. Even if we finally accept our partner is longer for us, we still play the positives over & over.
These thoughts can be challenging because they allow us to fantasize and feel good, while also veering us away from our rational reality. They tend to leave our hearts stuck in a ditch wondering what’s real, what’s not, and what the hell just happened.
If you find yourself caught up in daydreaming, it’s a good idea to BYOB, be your own bestie, take a large step back and get real with yoself.
Sitting atop a dune of brain mass lies the dweller, cloaked in worry and over-analyzation, circling round and round into the same sad thoughts, again and again and again.
Dwellers get stuck on the patterns spiraling down into a black hole. We must be stronger than the dweller. As humans, we can focus on certain things which bring us pain, anger, fear, or doubt. If you catch yourself dwelling, think about what you’re focusing on. Why are you stuck here? Is it serving you or is it harming you? Why does it bring you the feelings it does? What’s one step you need to take to resolve it?
There’s always a reason we dwell - however, it’s up to us to get it out of our minds and roll it down to our hands, ie actions. By taking action towards a solution, we calm our dweller and our minds.
Here is what’s worth a think - are your thoughts helping you or harming you? Are your thoughts serving you, or are you serving them?
Making this simple differentiation could open your mind to a healthier approach to thinking and can ultimately lead you towards a happier life.
Change your thoughts and you change your world.
Want to dive deeper and master your mind? Join our Mind Body Heart Workshop Series - a 3-part journey to joy and connection when it comes to your mind, your body and your heart.
Got questions, thoughts or ideas? Get in touch with us darlings. We’re always open.