In the previous posts, I have covered the
– The Basic Nature of Thoughts,
– How Thoughts are a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, (recommended read to realize the importance of thinking consciously) and
– How to Think During Hardships.
In this post, I will talk about Conscious Thinking and 5 simple ways to Think Consciously.
I heard this quote somewhere:
“2% of the people think; 3% of the people think they think, and 95% of the people would rather die than think.”
… And I thought to myself, “What does this even mean? Everybody thinks. It is a fact!”
Regardless, as soon as I heard this statement, I considered myself to be in the 2% slab.
I have always considered my mind to be very “active”. I used to think that I think a lot!
It was only after dwelling on this statement for some time that I distinguished “thoughting” from thinking.
I came to realise then that what I thought was thinking, was actually entertaining each and every thought that came in my head (thoughting). I had no control over those thoughts. One second there was one thought, the next second, another one (sometimes related, oftentimes not).
It was only then that I grasped the actual meaning of thinking which is what I am referring to now as Conscious Thinking.
What it means to Think Consciously
To Think Consciously is to choose your thoughts. Not entertaining whatever pops into your head but consciously choosing the thoughts which you want in your head, which would further your growth, your intentions, your vision for life.
If any thought occurs in your head which is not in alignment with what you want in life, you disregard it and reinforce your mind with the thoughts that support you.
Conscious thinking is an intentional activity. It requires you to actively choose what to think, what to entertain, what to disregard.
To think consciously is to mindfully replace your limiting self-talk to one that is supportive.
Plant thoughts of love, happiness, success, abundance in your mind and witness your life unfold in harmony with those thoughts. As shared in Thoughts 101, consider your mind a garden and yourself a gardener.
There are times when you may be having too many thoughts, you may be overwhelmed by thoughts and you’re not able to control them — for such times; Using the Thoughts 101 model in the reverse order is helpful
Action –> Feelings –> Thoughts
Take some “positive” action which will make you feel better which in turn will help you create better thoughts.
For example, you can watch a funny show/video (laugh), do some psychical activity (dance, exercise), listen to happy, pumped up music etc; these will uplift your mood (your feelings) and silence your thoughts. From there you can take over your thoughts.
Also, I have written about the 6 ways to stay present in the moment — which is all about being present in the now, outside your mind.
5 Simple Ways to Think Consciously in our daily lives
Like anything you want to learn or get better at, building the habit of mindful thinking will take some practice. Until now, you’ve been thinking in your default ways. Some of those ways have helped you, some not. It will take some time to rewrite the automatic occurring thoughts, but IT IS POSSIBLE and below I have shared how.
- Get present to the consequences of your thoughts: How often do you analyse your thought patterns and their impact? How they impact your feelings about yourself, others, and life in general. Remember, our thoughts shape our world. If you think “I can’t do it”, obviously you’ll feel demotivated.
- Catch & Replace defeating thoughts with winning thoughts: Get present to the when you’re engaging in self-defeating thought patterns. Immediately stop yourself at that moment and replace the defeating thought with thoughts that support you.
“Believe you can and you are halfway there.”Theodore Roosevelt
- Repeat positive beliefs/affirmations: Make a note of positive affirmations somewhere (be it in your phone or a diary) and repeat them every day. Repeat beliefs that support you in your life. Make empowering self-talk the new default. There is a catch to this though, you can’t just repeat the opposite of defeating thoughts. You must believe in the thought you’re planting. For that, back your empowering beliefs with evidence. Look for success stories from your past or even success stories of others (because if they can do it, you can do it.) You have a lot of evidence for your existing defeating beliefs, that’s why they are beliefs. You can give many reasons why your limiting beliefs are true. Similarly, look for evidence to support your new, empowering beliefs.
- Practice Gratitude and look for Silver Lining: By default, human beings look for what’s missing. It takes conscious thinking to acknowledge and be grateful for all that we have already. It is very simple, the quality of our thoughts determines the quality of our life. If something “bad” happens, there are always two choices, either we can play victim, feel sad, powerless and let our negative thinking take over OR we choose to be grateful and look for the silver lining. We can always find a silver lining if we look closely. Now some situations might be really bad and I am not discounting anyone’s pain or hurt. For that read: Thinking right in wrong times.
One book that has helped me instil the practice of gratitude in my daily life is The Magic by Rhonda Byrne I highly recommend you give it a read ?
“In the long run the pessimist may be proven right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip.”Daniel L. Reardon
- Ask Questions: Asking questions is a great way of breaking self-defeating thought patterns. Instead of saying “It’s not possible” or “I can’t do it”, ask yourself “How can I do this? How can I make this happen?” Indulge yourself in questions like “What if it does work out? What will I do If it will work out? How would it look like?”. In this way, you are using your energy not to tell you how you can’t do it but investing in thinking how you can make it possible.
“Where your attention goes, energy flows and results show”T Harv Eker
Conscious Thinking is an intentional activity of choosing which thoughts to entertain and which to disregard.
You can replace your self-defeating thoughts with the ones that support you.
Being present to your thoughts, repeating positive affirmations, practising gratitude, and asking intentional questions can help you think mindfully and replace automatic self-defeating thoughts with thoughts that support us.
This wraps up the “Thoughts” Section in Conscious Living. You can read all the posts from this series here.
Next I will be expanding on other aspects of Conscious Living from Living Consciously in These 7 Areas Will Set You Up for ANYTHING You Want in Life.
If you’re feeling lost and want more context on what I am saying, start by reading What is Conscious Living & How We Can Achieve ANYTHING by Practicing It!
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Write to you soon (: