“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Buddha
Cast your mind back over the past few hours.
What key thoughts have you had during this time?
And more importantly, how did these thoughts make you feel?
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing about mindfulness recently and how our thoughts dictate our feelings.
The great thing about this fact is the realisation that – if we change our thoughts, we can change our feelings.
All too often, we let our thoughts run amok, spiralling us down into rabbit-holes of anger, depression or fear.
We don’t even realise we’re doing it. Our thoughts form a commentary of our every waking moment – it takes considerable effort to challenge this inner commentator.
But if we do the results can be life-changing.
Let me give you an example.
Once upon a time, many years ago, I started dating a guy.
At first, everything was great – a heady haze of Soho nights and weekends away in the country.
But then things turned sour.
He began displaying some seriously narcissistic tendencies.
And he said something that really hurt me.
The day we broke up I stomped back home, angry thought-bubbles amassing like storm-clouds around my head.
I can’t believe he said that!
He’s such a selfish pig!
How could I have got him so wrong?
I’m such an idiot!
It hadn’t been all that long since my marriage had broken up. I’d thought this guy was my happily-ever-after-Prince-Charming.
I felt seriously short-changed and dangerously close to drowning in self-pity.
But then I staged an intervention … on myself. Or more specifically, on my mind.
I asked myself if I really wanted to spend the next few days / weeks / months / longer trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts that would make me feel nothing but crappy?
The answer was a resounding, ‘NO!’
So I started consciously replacing my inner rants with thoughts that would make me happy. Or happier, at least.
When I thought something like, ‘He’s such a narcissist,’ I’d immediately replace it with, ‘So what? It’s no longer my problem – hurray!’
When I thought, ‘I’m so stupid’, I’d replace it with, ‘I’m so smart for getting out before I got really hurt.’
And so on…
It was an enlightening experience.
I bounced back from that break-up way quicker than I would have done previously.
Staying on top of your thoughts is a challenging and permanent practise but like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
I found this quote online which sums it up neatly – if a little cheesily…
“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can plant flowers or you can plant weeds.”
Here’s to planting our minds with flowers of positivity…