Our new blogger Rhiannon shares her thoughts on the power of thought.
Our inner voice has a lot to say.
Without us noticing or paying attention, we hear an opinionated, judgemental background critic constantly telling us what to do and what we’re doing wrong.
In an effort to keep us feeling safe we are wired to have a primal brain function that tells us to watch out, be afraid, and stay ever alert.
While this is a useful thing to have when we are in the face of eminent danger, most days we live pretty danger-free (good to know!). That incessant warning instinct has now become useless for everyday living. Yet it’s job is to keep us awake and ever-alert - so it comes up with ever more possible threats. Thoughts such as “this person doesn’t like me”, “they’re judging me as I speak”, “I look terrible, no wonder no one wants to talk to me”… the list could go on.
Without questioning this thought process, we allow ourselves to take seriously this knee-jerk, reactive brain process. If you stop to think about it, we are unconsciously undermining ourselves and thinking negative thoughts all day long!
What we repeatedly think becomes a belief.
This is where negative beliefs and low self-esteem start to form.
In the tiny seed that is a thought. So, I’d like to invite you to use this article as the wake up call to recognise which inner voice are you allowing to take over. Is it the primal instinct that tells you to stay fearfully alert and at odds with the world around you? Or is there another voice within?
Some would call this voice the soul, or if it sits better with you, an inner wisdom that comes from measured silence. Because in truth, half of the negative things we tell ourselves are not real. No one judges us half as much as we think. No one pays attention to us half as much as we pay attention to ourselves. And we are not nearly under as much threat as our negative self-talk would have us believe. Somehow, we know, at our essence, we are peaceful, solid, knowing, and kind. But we cover up this essence with unconscious mind chatter.
So, the next time you notice a relentless stream of chatter pouring in - for some it’s when we are with groups of people, for others it’s during a challenging work deadline - remember that half of what you are telling yourself is an ancient defence mechanism that quite simply, doesn’t work.
Take a moment to recognise that voice and know that it is only there to keep you safe. It is frantically doing its job trying to keep you as alert (or anxious!) as possible. Ask yourself, “am I physically safe?”. Tell yourself, you are safe. And take a deep breath. Feel any tightness in your neck or jaw and breathe into those spaces.
It all starts with a pause and a moment to think - “what am I really thinking?”.
The aim isn’t necessarily to stop negative thinking all together. In fact, if any of you have tried it, it’s pretty impossible to stop an involuntary negative thought from popping up, especially in times of stress or pressure. But if you can recognize it for what it is - just a thought - that you can choose to follow it, or pause, and let it pass. You can take back your power from your thoughts and choose to stay calm and present, awake to the moment, no matter what your judgement of it is.
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We'd love to read your comments and your ways of taking control of your thoughts.