What are you thinking?
Just stop for a moment to find out. A few seconds of quiet is all it takes to work out what’s going on in your head.
If you could put those thoughts into words, what would they say?
Are they positive, encouraging and happy or (much more likely, alas!) a critical commentary of what’s around you?
I vividly remember an exercise we did at school on “Stream of Consciousness”. It’s amazing I can remember something so clearly from so long ago as my remaining post-children brain cells often struggle to cope with what day of the week it is nowadays, so it must have made an impact on me. The teacher got us to write down everything we were thinking, for 5 minutes, completely unedited.
Then, having bared our souls on paper, she did make some of us read it out, which I remember with horror. But anyway… The point of the exercise is that your hand can’t move fast enough. Almost all of us started with “I don’t know what to write…” but we soon tapped in to what was going on inside our heads and it was illuminating.
How about trying it now for 5 minutes? It doesn’t matter whether you write or type. Just give it a go and notice what happens.
Whenever I do this exercise I realise how easy it is to slip into thoughts that I might have perceived as positive thinking, but are actually what I would call a “critical commentary”.
Should I be bothered? Well, one of the facts of life is that we get what we think about. If you wake up in the morning and stub your toe on the bed, have you ever noticed how your day can go downhill from there? But if you wake up and see the sunshine and feel the happiness that comes from that, you can have one of those days that seems to be charmed.
So if your stream of consciousness is all about noticing the negative stuff or passing judgement on yourself or others, then that’s what your life experience will tend to be.
What can you do about it?
Just catch yourself at it! If you spot yourself thinking things you don’t truly want to be thinking, don’t get hung up on it. Simply choose to think about something else that makes you feel better.
The more you practise this, the faster you’ll feel happier more of the time. Give it a go for just one day and notice the tremendous difference it can make.