Since I drive so much, I often listen to podcasts.
I listen to a whole variety, trying to expand my learning or simply to be entertained. Unfortunately, I can’t always remember which info came from what podcast. The downfall of driving and not being able to write things down.
Recently I have been listening to several that have talked about the power of our thoughts.
Last week, our quote of the week (I never posted it, so this can be a “quote of the week” post too) was:
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are you would never think a negative thought again.”
Of course, right away, it reminds me of the quote:
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny”
According to some podcast I listened to, we process approximately 60, 000 thoughts per day. That’s a lot of thoughts! It made me stop and think, “How many of my thoughts are positive? How many are negative?” And I’m not so sure I was comfortable with my answer.
I also learned (from a few different podcasts, so I really don’t know where this model came from), the whole idea that in life, pretty much all we can control is out thoughts.
We are handed certain circumstances in life. At any given point, we have a set of circumstances, which either can never be changed; or will take a while to change. Things like: the weather, other people’s behaviour, our past etc. will NEVER be within OUR control to change. Other things like where we live, the job we have, are changeable, although not usually very quickly. So these are the things that we are stuck with (at least for a certain period, although some we are stuck with forever). So often we complain about our circumstances, which really is complaining about things we have no control over!
We then THINK about our circumstances. We either think positive things, neutral things, or negative things. We have a running monologue (or even dialogue?!?) in our head about our circumstances, about our lives. We attach meaning to things, we make things up (not in a bad way, but just in a way that helps us cope, or what we think is fact). Out thoughts are buzzing around at record speed, becoming our reality.
Those thoughts then trigger FEELINGS. Whether we feel good, bad, angry, sad, joyful, frustrated, irritated, curious, ambitious, melancholy…our feelings are a direct result of our thoughts. That’s a huge “aha” for me. I know it is sort of common sense, but the “aha” for me, is if I don’t like the way I am feeling, then I just need to change my thoughts. (And please note, I am simplifying this; there are things such as real depression and anxiety that some people struggle with that are much more complex and need other treatment and support for; but even then, attempting to change your thoughts likely won’t hurt – it just may not make it all better). There is so much power in our thoughts! We have the ability to at any time change our dialogue in our head to make a change in how we feel.
Our feelings then lead us to take ACTION or NO ACTION. I will do or not do, based on how I feel. If I am not happy with my actions (or lack of them), I can try to change them directly, but unless I change my thinking, which changes my feelings, my change to my actions likely won’t stick.
Finally, my actions lead to the RESULTS I see in my life. If I am “not happy” with the results I am seeing, then I know where to go back to: the only thing I can control, my thoughts.
It’s worth it to take a little inventory of what you are feeling (sometimes easier to recognize our feelings) and then look to see what thoughts are behind it.