You can’t control your thoughts but you can direct them.
Thoughts will pop into your head uninvited – all day long. I don’t really know where they come from or how they get there. A lot of these uninvited thoughts are OK – they help us to manage our day, to make decisions what to do next and to evaluate what it going on.
However, some of these uninvited thoughts may be destructive. These are the ones you MUST let go of as soon as possible.
How will you know if your thoughts are destructive? Become aware of your feelings when you think those thoughts.
I have a habit of getting into destructive thought patterns after I have listened to the news. Often there is news of violent crimes. I few hours later I run scenarios though my head of the same or similar things happening to me and my family. My heart races, I physically experience the fear and anxiety in my stomach and by breathing becomes shallow. My whole body tenses up.
Now there may be some merit in scenario planning, but I don’t think it’s beneficial for me to get into such a state of panic. This fear I experience is called “dirty fear” – the situation is not happening right now, yet the fear I am feeling is real. At the moment in time that I am thinking these thoughts, I am safe. There is not any purpose for these frightening thoughts.
As soon as I become aware of this, I kindly and gently say to myself: “Ok Kirst, that’s enough. None of this is happening so let those thoughts evaporate.”
I take some deep breaths, I shake myself and I consciously direct my thoughts to more constructive places. I usually start thinking about what I am going to do next for my Online Life Mastery site. Or I start planning my weekend away or next holiday. Sometimes I visualize God or the angels putting a protective coat around me and my family. It doesn’t really matter what I do – as long as it’s constructive.
In no time at all, my heart rate and breathing return to normal and I’m feeling better.
Directing your thoughts means deciding what you’re going to think about, and then thinking about that.
Here are some suggestions of things you can think about when you need to direct your thoughts:
- Your work – especially an aspect of your work that you love or are planning to do. You could even think about a challenge at work and how you can overcome it (but make sure you direct your thoughts constructively)
- Your family – think about the people you really care for, and how you can affirm to them the value they are adding to your life.
- Helping someone – think of some ways that you can add value to someone else’s life. It doesn’t have to be something huge – often the small little things you do for someone make a huge difference.
- Being grateful – you may choose to pray and give thanks – or you may want to list 25 things that you truly appreciate.
- Meditate – this will allow you to become present, for your thoughts and emotions to become calm.
- Visualize – how your life will be when you have achieve a certain goal. Or visualize your perfect day – putting in every detail and bringing in all the senses.
- Listen to your favorite uplifting song. Focus on the words. Sing along if you can.
These are some ways you can purposefully direct your thoughts.
Joy comes from directing your thoughts constructively. Practice doing this often – and especially when you become aware of thinking dark and destructive thoughts – don’t linger there, move on immediately.
Let me know what you do to consciously direct your thoughts…… There is so much to learn form each other – so share!Change your thoughts and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale