We have a constant stream of thoughts traveling
through our minds, when we are awake and when we are dreaming. Right now, just
sit quietly and listen- to your inner chatter. You may hear phrases or
sentences that reflect on your day, where you are or what you are doing; you
may have random snatches of song or memories making an appearance; you may have
meaningless words and images popping in through the thought stream. This
is all quite normal.
Knowing how to work with these thoughts is the first step to a better state of mind. I would like to repeat the statement in the title of this piece, followed by a challenge- get this right and the gift will be right there:thoughts expand.
If you don’t believe me, watch your mind for a few moments and this will be very clear.
Now notice the type of thought you are expanding- there are only two families of thought. Type one are thoughts about what is missing or lacking in our life, or about what is wrong in our life- the people, places, situations. For example- "why is this internet connection so slow.."(what is wrong)..."I wish I had a speedier connection..." (what is lacking). Keep expanding these and you will soon feel low, less-than, frustrated- leading to more of these negative kinds of thoughts.
Type two are very different thoughts- they choose to focus on what you do have, and on what is going right. So take the same scenario- "This connection seems to be slow. I'm glad I am one of those on the continent who has access to my own computer and wi-fi."
Now I am not saying we should live in la-la land, where everything is beautiful and lovely, and never have a sense of reality with its problems. However, I am saying that it feels so much better inside, when we choose to focus on what we have and what is in fact going well. Gratitude is being shown more and more, in neuropsychology research, to have profoundly positive effects on our brains and state of mind, and we can check for ourselves how contentment versus grasping feels.
So take the thought challenge, and spend a few minutes every day- or even several times through the day, on watching exactly what you are expanding. Then note how you feel, and how you relate to yourself, others, where you are, your work, and your state of body and mind, as a result.
Another great technique is to list 20 things you are grateful for, every day. Even if you're in a bad mood, it cannot be denied that an acknowledgement of having your health, people to care about, a job that pays you enough to be online right now, the intellect to be able to read and understand this concept, (I can go on but I'll leave you to complete your own list) is already a whole lot of what you do have and what is going right!