The human mind is something scientists are still trying to figure out. We still do not quite understand where feelings and emotions come from. Though one thing we do know is that human beings are thinking creatures. We can have thousands of thoughts every day, according to the National Science Foundation, the average person can have up to 70,000 a day (although this figure is debatable).
Thoughts are very powerful. Some are intentional, like making an important decision, or solving a problem. Whereas others just seem to just drop into our minds from nowhere. Though most of our thoughts are repetitive, dwelling in the past, fearful of the future or simply utter nonsense. Most of these repetitive thoughts are automatic. Actually, up to 90% of the thoughts you have today, you will have tomorrow. This is because most of our thoughts come from our subconscious mind, and we are not normally consciously aware of them.
Your subconscious mind accepts what is impressed upon it with feeling and repetition, whether these thoughts are positive or negative, it does not discriminate. If you’re aware of the science of epigenetics, then you’ll understand that we inherit a lot of our thoughts from our family and those around us, especially during early childhood.
Just thinking about something causes your brain to release neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that allow it to communicate with the nervous system and body. Your brain is always trying to become more efficient, so every time a group of neurons communicate with one another the brain makes it easier for them to do so in the future by strengthening the connection between them.
Did you know that around 80% of our thoughts are negative? So you can see how people with anxiety or depressive disorders often suffer from obsessive repetitive, uncomfortable thoughts, or what we call ‘stinking thinking’.
When we’re in this state of mind, it easier to get caught in a cycle of negative thinking. It can be difficult to remember the good things that have happened to us, so our thoughts are often very self-doubting or worrisome.
When you think about the sheer number of thoughts and the incredible power of the subconscious mind, it begs the question: ‘Are we are ever in control of our thoughts?’ The fact is, we don’t need to control our thoughts. We need to be aware that we can change what we think about by engaging with our thoughts.
Firstly is not to judge your thoughts as good or bad. Many of you could envisage a little devil or angel sitting on our shoulder, depending on the thought process. Consciously, you know that it means you no harm and at some point actually helped you in some way and only has the best intentions with what it is telling you.
This is because in most cases you have never taken the time to observe the thoughts and identify where it came from and what it’s doing there. Understand that your thoughts are just opinions for you to consider. This is why I love the saying if you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. If you allow the same thoughts to drive your actions time and time again and then wonder why you keep having the same problems, it’s because you haven’t taken the time to observe and engage with your thoughts.
Once you’ve started engaging with your thoughts, thank them for being there and then ask yourself the question, ‘Will these thoughts help me change the situation I’m currently facing?’ In most cases, the answer will be ‘no’. From a modern physics perspective, everything is just energy, even your thoughts. We can’t just throw away energy, though we can transform energy from one form into another. This is why you can change one thought into another.
So you have to ask yourself, ‘What thought do I want to replace this thought with to help me resolve my current situation?’ Now you get to choose what you want to think to help you deal with whatever issue you are facing.
Now I’ve simplified this process, though these are the foundations of what I do with my clients. Stinking thinking is easier and takes less work than focused thinking, though with enough work and intention then it can become easier to have more focused thoughts again in the future.
Image credit: Freepik
Dean Griffiths is the founder and CEO of Energy Fusion, the first interactive online platform to subjectively assess physical and mental health.