Be aware of your thoughts, influence your emotions, choose your behaviour
Have you ever been in a Yoga class, Meditation class or any other environment where you've been told to block out your thoughts and just focus on your breathing? Or have you ever had a night where you've struggled to go to sleep and to help get there you tried to stop yourself from thinking? I'm pretty sure that's the point in time where you start wondering if Deer actually have Gall Bladders......(they don't in case you are wondering) or why, if they have legs are bats not able to walk???? (It's because there leg bones are so thin). Anyway, enough about strange animal facts- we could be here all day!!
What if I told you that you actually didn't have the ability to control your thoughts? That the thoughts that pop into your mind are automatic, fleeting little things that come and go as they please, regardless of whether you are trying to sleep or trying to nail meditation time in Yoga. Yep! It's perfectly normal to think about what you're gonna have for dinner as you're in the last few minutes of your Yoga class.
Trying to block out or control your thoughts won't get you anywhere other than taking a trip to Judgy Town. It might lead to you feeling embarrassed, guilty or even angry. But here's the good news, the thoughts that pop into your head are not your fault. Even better, as long as you don't act on them, they can't get you in any trouble. That's if, they just remain as thoughts!!
Where we end up getting ourselves in trouble is by actions or words that we choose as a result of the emotional response that we attach to these particular thoughts. Instead of getting so caught up in what our initial thoughts are to situations and people, we need to instead analyse the emotional response that we have to them. Think about this situation: Someone who you don't know looks at you in a way that makes you think that they are judging you unfairly, your emotional response is that of anger/hurt or something else negative. You respond by either attacking the person for judging you when they don't even know you, or you walk away feeling upset that some person who doesn't even know you has judged you. BACK UP THE TRUCK!! What if, that person has just had a bad day, maybe they are thinking about something that happened yesterday, maybe they just have permanent resting bitch face, maybe, just maybe (and more than likely), IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!!
We attach emotional responses to certain situations and people because of our own past experiences and our own limiting beliefs. As a result, we often end up behaving in a way that simply makes the situation worse. The example that I gave above is a really simple example, but this sort of thing happens in different scenarios all of the time. Based on their past experiences, people attach an emotional reaction to situations that ends up in a bad, sometimes terrible situation. It doesn't necessarily result in hurting other people, often it results in us hurting ourselves, either by the use of words or actions.
Instead of trying to block out or control your thoughts, use your energy to be aware of them instead and to be mindful of the emotional response that you have to them so that you are able to influence it. This allows you to take a moment and choose your actions or words as a result of the situation. Trust me when I say that leads to a much more harmonious life for yourself and for other people.
If you can become aware of your thoughts and influence your emotions, you will have much more control of the things that you do and the words that you say. At the end of the day, it is simply about being more mindful!
Til next time,