thoughts 101: the basic nature of thoughts

thoughts-101, nature of thoughts

In this post, I will be sharing the basic nature of thoughts and the importance of having the right thoughts.

Thoughts and their Nature

We all have thoughts in the form of ideas, memories, pictures, songs, all the time. 

“In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article summarizing research on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.”
Source

Isn’t this insane?! 

2 things stand out from this study, except for the huge amount of thoughts we have every day.

  1. 80% of our thoughts are negative. That is the default nature of our thoughts and the reason for that is our survival mechanism. We think of what hurts us (physically or emotionally) and what could hurt us because we don’t want that to happen in the future.
  2.  95% of our thoughts are repetitive. Generally, the more you repeat something, the better you become at it. In the context of thoughts, if you repeat thoughts long enough, they become beliefs. These beliefs can either act as our support (empower us) or resistance (limit us).

One basic principle that I practice in my everyday life is that our thoughts create our feelings which give us our actions.

Thoughts –> Feelings –> Actions

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”

Buddha

Everything starts with a thought. All that we are, all that the human race has ever created and will ever create – everything stems from our thoughts.

How we feel and act is also dictated by our thoughts.

An excerpt from The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy

"Your mind is a garden.
You are a gardener.
You plant seeds (thoughts) in your subconscious mind all day, every day based on your habitual thinking.
As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.
Every thought is a cause and every condition is an effect.
It is the world within that makes your world without."

Another way to look at this is:

Consider yourself as a tree. Your thoughts are the roots and your results/environment/life-situation etc. are the fruits. 
Now, if you don’t like the fruits, you change or work on the roots.
Similarly, if you want to change your actions, results, life-situation, etc. then start by working on your thoughts.
These analogies help us understand why it’s important to “plant” the right thoughts. One must actively choose the right thoughts and repeat them to themselves until they become beliefs.


TIP

There can be times when you’re overwhelmed by the number or nature of your thoughts and you’re not able to control them — for such times, we can use the above model in the reverse direction.

Action –> Feeling –> Thoughts

Taking “positive” action will make you feel better which in turn will help you create better thoughts.

For example, if you’re feeling low, 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 alter your thoughts. 

Also, You can apply the 6 Ways To Stay Present In The Moment — which is all about getting out of our minds and coming back to the present moment.


Conclusion

Thoughts can be in the form of ideas, memories, pictures, songs. 

By default, the nature of our thoughts is negative because of our survival mechanism.

Thoughts repeated often become part of our belief system and they either limit or uplift us.

Consciously choose thoughts which support you and repeat them to yourself until they become part of your belief system.


This is it for this post.

Over the next few posts, I will be covering
1. How Thoughts are a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 
2. How to Think during Hardships
3. 5 Simple Ways to Think Consciously

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