I’ll start today’s post with a quote:
“Quite simply, our routine, known thoughts and feelings perpetuate the same state of being, which creates the same behaviors and creates the same reality. So if we want to change some aspect of our reality, we have to think, feel, and act in new ways” - Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
As Joe describes, if you want to create a more enjoyable life for yourself, you need to change your thoughts, feelings, and habits.
I know it’s a tall order, especially if you’re trying to do all 3 at once. Rather than get overwhelmed with all 3, today we will focus on thoughts.
Let’s face it: Your thoughts make or break you.
Thoughts create reality. Our life experience isn’t only based on what’s happening in our lives. It’s intertwined with how we perceive our situation.
If you want to change your reality to achieve a more enjoyable life, your thoughts are a great starting point.
In order to change your thoughts, you first need to develop self awareness. Self awareness gives you the ability to be aware of thoughts when they go through your head.
Most people aren’t aware of the thoughts going through their head. This is called living unconsciously.
When you live unconsciously, you aren’t in control of your thoughts. Consequently, you aren’t in control of your behavior because thoughts and behaviors are intertwined.
When you develop self awareness, you become the watcher of your mind rather than the victim who is at the emotional mercy of untamed thoughts.
Self awareness isn’t a skill you practice a few times then master in an instant. It’s a skill that takes an enormous amount of work to cultivate.
It’s something that you never truly master. You can always get better at self awareness. I’m by no means perfect at it. It’s something I try and get better at each day.
I’ll give an example
This past weekend I went to a party and decided beforehand to stay sober that. As I arrived to the party, feeling the pressure of being offered drinks, my thoughts started focusing on all the discomfort that I was experiencing.
I was unconsciously focusing on the discomfort, and as a result I experienced emotions like fear, anxiety and anticipation.
Not surprisingly, as I unconsciously focused on the discomfort, the discomfort continued to increase. I felt increasingly introverted and awkward.
A few minutes after being in that discomfort mode, I noticed how unaware I had been of my thoughts. I realized I was operating unconsciously. I wasn’t present in the moment.
That act of self awareness gave me the golden opportunity: to become present and re-direct my thoughts.
I started focusing on all the good things that were going on at that moment. Being with friends, safe, on holiday, were a few of the things that came to mind.
And as I started focusing on the good, more good started coming to me. I naturally stopped worrying about what others were thinking about me, and I started focusing on having fun just being myself.
All of a sudden, the party started becoming more fun. And once the fun was started, it gained momentum.
I ended up having one of the most fun nights of my year, stayed out until 2am completely sober and had a wonderful night out on the town.
Why do I tell this story?
To highlight the fact that the seemingly little act of catching my thoughts was the key moment. The ability to catch a thought, and then redirect attention, can literally change your life.
It takes work. The thousands of hours of work in meditation and self awareness trainings had all led up to that one point where I was capable to catch the thought and redirect.
The good news is that it doesn’t take 7 years to develop this skill and make a change in your life. Once you start practicing self-awareness, you’ll very quickly notice you start to get better at catching your thoughts.
It’s an ability you just get better and better at over time. It’s the best investment you can make in my opinion. So don’t wait to start practicing.
Get started as soon as you can by making it a small daily practice. Keep it small and manageable to start. You want it to be something that you enjoy, not something that’s a burden.
It can be a self awareness shower, walk, meditation, car ride, coffee, it’s up to you to find what works best.
Find a way to practice each day, even if it’s just for a short amount of time. The easiest way to do this is to establish a self awareness routine.
Once you develop self awareness, you will begin to catch your thoughts and then you can start to redirect them.
And once you start re-directing your thoughts, you start to change the emotional experiences. Tomorrow’s part 2 post will be on emotions.
Today, I invite you to notice your thoughts. Be the watcher. Be curious about what kind of thoughts your mind is creating.
When you recognize your mind making thoughts, take note and let it go. If you want, re-direct your thoughts to something else. Be intentional about the types of thoughts you think.
What would it be like if you took the next minute and did nothing but watched your thoughts? Only you can know.