We’ve all heard phrases such as “Change your thoughts, change your world” and Shakespeare’s “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” But how do you “change” your thoughts? It’s not quite as simple as just positive thinking. The trick is to learn how to master your thoughts. And this takes a mind-shift.
You actually have to retrain your brain to stop following the orders of every thought that enters your mind! But how?
The first step is to stop reacting to every thought that crosses your mind.
And this takes a new skill, because most of us have learned to do just that – we automatically react to our thoughts and jump right on the bandwagon of whichever feeling that thought carries. This is especially true if the thought is emotionally charged, or makes us feel judged.
By creating a new, intentional, mindful process you can actually stop the thought from – at worst, driving your emotions, decisions and actions right on down the road of funkyville, and at best, taking you away from the better thoughts, ideas and inspirations that are out there, waiting for you to allow them to help you achieve the levels of success you really want.
So in order to not automatically react, we need to develop the skill of separation from our thoughts, giving us the ability to decide if acting upon or dwelling on that thought is really in our best interest. Mindful meditation is a great way to learn this process.
My 7 minute Core Meditation walks you through this process step-by-step, showing you how to observe your thoughts from your core, or center, developing the skill to separate from the thought itself. (If you haven’t already downloaded the meditation, just click here, it’s free!)
The second step is to form a trigger phrase.
After going through the meditation, notice how you feel. Hopefully you feel more centered, calm, and clearer about your ability to choose your thoughts than you did just 7 minutes earlier. This is the state of mind that you’ll want to recall at any time during your day. So choosing a “trigger phrase,” or question, to help you recall this new skill is essential.
One of my favorites which I use during those moments when I feel a thought creeping in that feels less than where I want to be at the moment, is to simply ask… “Is this thought serving me?” This will pull me from the pervading thought itself, shift me back into “observer mode” which is taught in the meditation, and gives me the choice to respond to the thought, rather than just reacting to it. Try it! Or come up with a different phrase to trigger the process for yourself.
The third step is Rinse & Repeat!
This isn’t a one-time process, and as simple as it sounds, it’s not always easy to remember to dedicate those 7 minutes daily, even for just 7 days! When I go through this process, I will sometimes put a reminder in my smart phone, or throw a sticky note up on the mirror in the bathroom, or near the kitchen sink. (I’m a big proponent of sticky notes – also a great place to put your trigger phrase!)
Try this for just 7 days, and see what happens! Of course, if you want do this for longer, even better! And repeating the 7 day challenge every now and then will help seal the deal. The more you do it, the more you will start to form a new, healthy habit around how you choose your thoughts. After all, as Napoleon Hill said, “Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”
Isn’t it time YOU decide which thoughts are placed in your mind?