Do you feel so overwhelmed by stress?
That you can’t seem to get anything done and you have no time for yourself.
You’re constantly being pushed and pulled by society’s expectations of you; by the chores, the responsibilities, the engagements and everything else that you’ve got going on in your life and this then leads to a spiralling down of negative thinking: Over-thinking that determines what you’re going to get done and what you’re not going to get done.
Let’s to take a look at what is the cause of this, how we can avoid incessant over-thinking and gain control over the decisions we make daily, by becoming:
The observer of our thoughts and not the Victim
The University of California recently carried out a study to actually measure the time it takes to regain focus after an interrupted task.
They discovered that not only does it provoke significantly higher stress, frustration, increased workload, more effort, and elevated pressure, it also takes up to 20 minutes for the human brain to recover and reduces productivity by up to 40%.
For a while now, society has been teaching us that multi tasking is the best thing we should do to be able to create the life we want and become successful, but science is now demonstrating the fact that multi tasking is indeed, harmful for us and it’s actually slowing us down.
The more you multi task, the less you accomplish.
Studies now show that by doing this, almost all of us are already losing 20% of our brainpower, almost all of the time. It appears that we’re all suffering a collective case of cognitive degradation.
Our ability to focus, has been hijacked.
According to a study carried out at Queens University in Canada:
The human brain generates over 6’000 thoughts per day, but cognitive neuroscientists have acknowledged that we’re only consciously aware of 5% of those thoughts, and while this is where we are able to consciously create our future, it is actually the unconscious thoughts that make up for the 95% that is getting in our way of that, because those are the ones that are running our life and if we don’t learn to become aware of them, the potential to wreak havoc on our productivity and our lives, is very real.
So, In a nutshell:
We get attached to the thinking of the thoughts we’re thinking without even being consciously aware of them.
For most of the day we’re engaged in the tortuous realms of the mind believing its every suggestion, like a puppet on a string we’re guided by the enticements of an illusion rather than opening our eyes to the field of endless possibility that surrounds us.
Let’s be really honest:
Most of the thoughts we have throughout the day are actually negative, but hey, we’re all affected by it. Now think about it: out of 99 people who pay you a compliment, only One of them has a criticism for you and instead of feeling happy about all the compliments you receive, you’re actually feeling annoyed by the one criticism that you got.
This is called Cognitive bias and is typical of how our brain is wired and tells you a LOT about how you really view yourself, because the thoughts that it presents to you are there to confirm your existing beliefs.
When we have a self-sabotaging thoughts like:
“I’m not good enough, or why am I so stupid or, nobody loves me etc.”
We tend to try and block them out so we try to change the dialogue, but because we’re not altering the feeling that’s come from that thought, by doing this, it’s actually causing us to overthink, draining our energy and resulting in us feeling a whole lot worse.
Your perception is the lens with which you view the world
This stems from your unconscious thoughts, so it is extremely important to begin to become aware of exactly what those thoughts are.
Sometimes, in order to be able to see clearly, you simply have to remove the lens.
Is a skill that teaches you the ability to look at the thoughts rather than from them.
It’s understanding the basic concept that you really don’t have to believe everything that you think and the truth is, if you don’t learn to understand this fundamental concept;
You may turn out to be a living example of everything that passes through your mind.
Let’s face it, how often do you experience a sort of “Nothingness” where your brain is actually silent?
Probably, hardly ever, right?
Our brain is like a super computer, incessantly feeding us suggestions based on past experiences and what we have given our focus to through thought and emotion, so when we have a thought, we’re not even consciously aware of it we just believe it, all the while cementing a belief that isn’t even serving us.
This is why it is essential to learn to detach yourself from these thoughts, so you can select the ones that are useful and discard the ones that are NOT.
So your mind is serving YOU rather than dictating your life.
As you’re watching this video, listening to this podcast, or reading the article, your mind will be feeding you all kinds of different suggestions as to how you should be individually interpreting this information.
You’ll be then building associations based on how you view me as a person, what you think my intentions are, what this experience is going to give you, what it’s not going to give you etc..
Every single one of those thoughts that you have; will have an Emotion attached to it.
Right now, your brain is processing 400 billion bits of information per second, but you are only consciously aware of just 1%.
So as you’re listening to me, begin to become aware of some of those thoughts;
What presumptions have you deducted, what is your mind telling you about your association to this experience?
Begin to become aware of the suggestions of the mind and how it is projecting itself onto everything you do by interpreting everything that you experience.
Once you start to become aware of your inner dialogue, you can then begin to ask yourself the question:
Can I really, undoubtedly know that, what my mind is interpreting, is really true?
This allows for you to open up space for new experiences to arise, it helps you to regain a healthy level of curiosity and is the stepping stone to elevating your energy level or state of being.
How to deal with negative thinking.
When you suddenly find yourself afflicted by a self-sabotaging dreaded thought, then begin to ask yourself, What Emotion am I feeling?
Shift your focus from the thought, to the feeling?
Which core emotion am I experiencing right now?
Probably not Joy, so is it Sadness, is it anger, or is it Fear?
Then try to locate whereabouts in your body are you feeling it?
Once you begin to focus on the Emotion, your attention is taken away from the Thought and this interrupts the anxiety spiral that we so often get stuck in.
When you have located the emotion and the part of the body where the energy attached to it is stored;
Now is the time to acknowledge the feeling and see it for what it is; just a feeling.
Accept it by allowing yourself to experience it instead of trying to block it out.
Don’t fight it but instead name the feeling and tell yourself that it is really ok to feel this way, it’s just part of our experience of being human, when you have done that you can then release it and let it go.
We often have reoccurring thoughts that quietly destroy our day affecting ourselves and those around us.
Think of how many hours, days, weeks, months and even years we’ve wasted on fearful negative thinking when we could have used it to create beautiful memories and learning new skills.
It’s imperative we learn to filter out negative thoughts in the same way our mind filters the reality of our external world to fit our interpretation of how we view things.
So, When you become aware of a pattern of reoccurring negative thoughts, use the same procedure that I mentioned above, but then also ask yourself:
How would I feel if I didn’t have that thought and more importantly, WHO would I be if I didn’t have that thought?
For an even greater impact;
Take the time to write down your automatic negative thought and while you’re looking at it written on the paper, in black and white, ask yourself those afore mentioned questions.
When we focus on a negative thought, it’s like standing in a dark room and shining a flashlight on the one thing that afflicts us, so by widening our perceptual span, we’re setting the foundation for expansion, choosing to not believe that limiting thought, or those limiting thoughts but instead connecting to the field of infinite possibility by returning to our natural state of childlike curiosity.
So, next time you catch yourself having destructive thoughts, remember;
You don’t have to buy it!
Instead, ponder on the thought that maybe just maybe;
The very truth about who you are and what you’re really capable of, lies just beyond the veil of those deceptions and who knows, perhaps the truth, is even, the exact opposite.
Just as J.K Rowling stated in her Harry Potter books:
“Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, but only to those who remember to turn on the light.”
Remember: “The Real Mastermind is YOU.”