How many different thoughts do you have each day? Researchers estimate we process between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts each day. Our minds seldom cease activity. Even when we sleep, our brain is restoring, sorting, and informing us.
Last week we discussed the physical, or Part I of living a balanced life. Now Let’s take a look at the mental and the balance therein. Where do those 70,ooo daily thoughts take us?
When I work with clients, I discuss three viewpoints from which our thoughts derive.
Childhood, family, schooling, background and community.
This is the place from which other people are most likely to influence our thoughts.
Clients who dwell too much upon past memories sometimes suffer with depression.
Our five senses are engaged.
The place from which we experience the moment.
Here, we examine our choices & behavior–where we can choose a shift that may change consequences.
Future–We dream of a future, fantasize.
We project what our future could be like. It’s our gift as humans.
Clients who live too much in thoughts of the future tend to be anxious. They worry about what will happen in the future.
Our past, present, and future influences may have either a positive or negative impact on our thoughts and color how we think about about ourselves, others, and our world.
Ed grows up with a message from his childhood, or past memory, “You are not good enough.” He allows this message to live in his thoughts, or present. He gives the message value, forming his belief, “I am not good enough.” He projects this belief onto others; it is reinforced by teachers, bosses, and eventually a spouse. His belief becomes his behavior and all of his choices reinforce that he is, in fact, “not good enough.” The belief then develops into a habit and is carried into his future.
Follow me through this gardening metaphor for the workings of the mind:
We plant 70,000 seeds.
Those seeds grow and become beliefs.
We water and fertilize those beliefs, and add value to them until they grow into habits.
Habits bear fruit–our harvest.
Unless, we make a choice to change the crop by taking action, changing what we plant (thoughts) changing behavior (fertilization techniques) and in the end our harvest (consequences).
If we plant a turnip, a turnip will grow. If we plant “I’m not good enough,” not good enough will grow. The choice is made at planting time.
True balance of mind includes a review of how many of our 70K thoughts dwell in the positive or negative. If left to wander, where do we spend the majority of our thought energy? Truly, there is a daily struggle within ourselves for our “thought time.” And then there is a major battle from outside of us–the media bombardment attempting to dictate our behavior. Achieving true balance in thought is not simple or achieved quickly. But we can take steps immediately to improve our thoughts. Below is a small list of places where we might begin to work toward balance in thought.
Aids for balanced thought
Live in present–experience beauty of life and nature
Focus on positives–both in ourselves and others
Limit the bombardment of news, advertizing, and social media
Meditation/prayer–mind is free from the world–rests within a Higher Spirit
Positive “I am” statements–written on 3X5 cards–placed where you will see them often
Avoid “I am not” statements–consciously replace negative self-statements with positive affirmations
Learn new experiences–regardless of age, keep learning new things–take a dance class or guitar lessons
Commit to keeping a check on the physical (sleep, nutrition, exercise)
“The thoughts you choose to think and believe right now are creating your future. These thoughts form your experiences tomorrow, next week, and next year.” ~Louise Hay
Next week: The Emotional