I don’t mean for politicians; I mean you have the right to vote for which thoughts you want to listen to and which ones you want to ignore. Usually it’s easier to convince my clients they can choose how to act than to convince them they can change how they think. Thinking just seems so automatic that we believe we can’t change it. The truth is we are not very talented at controlling our minds because we don’t practice and we don’t recognize how full of garbage they are.
The other day my boss Lauren asked me to contemplate why people were always talking about and practicing meditation. Meditation is so popular because we realize most of what our minds are busy doing isn’t very helpful. We actually have to train our minds. We’ve realized, in the same way that what we feed our bodies impacts our physical health, what we feed our minds impacts our mental health and our happiness.
The Handel MethodTM teaches that you are the author of your life, which means you can control what you feed your body, heart and mind. This also means you can choose your thoughts. Here’s a good example of how a client became aware of hers: Elena Brower (founder of Virayoga and my co-leader at the upcoming Raise Your Vibration urban retreat) recently shared an exercise she did of logging every complaint she had throughout the day. She then categorized different types of complaints and found themes that filled her day: twelve alone were complaints used simply as fillers or to make others feel better.
Wow, are we wasting mental energy! Ever notice when your mind is clear, you can get so much more done? It’s remarkable how energy shifts depending where you put your attention. Just like it’s hard to say no to unhealthy food when you are in the mood for a treat or want to numb out, it’s hard to say no to certain thoughts, but my point is, YOU CAN.
Step 1: List your negative thoughts throughout the day in a log.
Step 2: Make a list of the themes/categories.
Step 3: Make a promise to curb one recurring thought by catching it, counting it and confessing it to your coach or coach stand-in.
Step 4: Resolve to “be done” with that kind of thinking forever by telling everyone you know that you are rooting it out.
Step 5: Devise the perfect consequence for when you catch yourself in that thought. For me, it’s no chocolate if I persist in any kind of grouchiness.
We all need a good, tight leash until we are thoroughly trained. Just like with meditation, after a lot of practice you will earn some freedom. If you re-wire yourself to think a new way and stick to it, eventually your mind won’t want to take you down old paths; your “inner brat” will learn that it is fruitless. Until then, cast your votes with your attention every day, all day in favor of believing your dreams. With time and practice, your fears and misconceptions will drop out of the race.