LEARNING TO THINK IN A NEW WAY
Control your thoughts, change your reality
‘My thoughts create my reality’ was a phrase I’d became very intimate with. I was of the belief that I had already put this concept into practice and I thought I was doing quite well. For example, I recited affirmations centred around the things I wanted to create in my life. Whenever I found myself thinking about a worst case scenario, I’d say to myself, ‘delete, delete’ and change my train of thought. I discovered that engaging in activities that I loved helped distract my mind from negative thoughts.
However, this was a temporary fix. I needed to develop a new level of thinking in order to create a new mindset. I realised that even after I’d spent endless hours studying all the self-help material I could get my hands on (I’d read books, worked through home study programs and listened to tele-seminars, podcasts, lectures and interviews) I was still focusing on all the ‘bad stuff’.
I’d also tried out numerous styles of counselling and healing techniques, as well as consulted my mentors in order to seek the answers I was looking for. It was quite a wake-up call to realise that my habit of confiding in my trusted inner circle was effectively undoing all the good work I’d been doing.
I realised that whenever I caught up with my counsellor, mentor or closest friends my normal behaviour was to give them a blow-by-blow account and in-depth analysis of what was happening in my life. I mostly focused on the bad as I wanted to understand why it was occurring and how to change it. Effectively, I spent most of the conversation complaining. Not just about the unwanted scenarios occurring in my life, but their’s too.
I had learnt from my teachers that the brain does not differentiate between a real and an imagined event. By re-living situations and all its associated feelings (frustration, disappointment, anger, sadness, etc.) I was in effect reinforcing my old subconscious programming instead of creating a new reality.
What I needed to do was to stop rehashing, and thereby re-living, all the negative things that were occurring in my life. This was more complex than I first thought. I was concerned about would it affect the relationships with my friends and family. Some of my relationships were based on mutual complaining and the solace of mutual sympathy. Plus, I wasn’t the type of person who could easily say that things were ‘great’, when they weren’t. I had worn my heart on my sleeve for so long, it seemed only natural and truthful to simply tell people how things really were if they asked.
Be selective of who you spend time with
I was intent on changing this habit, and that meant I would need to change the nature of relating with many of my friends.
In cases where I thought my friends would understand and support my reasoning, I explained why I had decided to refrain from complaining. In most instances they could see the benefits and began putting this methodology into practise in their own lives. Our relationship changed and our conversations became more uplifting.
With those that didn’t or couldn’t understand or change this habit, I found it easier to spend less time with them. I did not stop caring about them, I just wanted to avoid being caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, i.e. being unable to speak freely, yet not wanting to be untruthful. When I did catch up with them I tried to organise an activity that I knew we both enjoyed and took the focus off exchanging stories.
Once the external stimuli of focussing on the negative was minimised, I had more time to myself. Instead of talking about my problems I was thinking about them. I created all sorts of hypothetical scenarios. What if I’d done this instead? What if I had said this? What if that had happened?
The way forward was to stop analysing situations from my past and trying to find solutions to my current problems. Instead, I needed to begin thinking, acting and feeling like the person I wished to become.
Mentally rehearse the future you wish to create
Dr Joe Dispenza’s work helped me here. According to his hypothesis, mentally rehearsing the circumstances, behaviours and responses that I wanted to bring into being would rewire my brain. These neurological changes would result in a new and healthier way of seeing and experiencing the world.
The combination of being mindful of my thoughts, quitting complaining, letting go of negative people in my life, putting a stop to over-analysing my problems, and replacing this with mentally rehearsing the future I wished to create – had a significant impact. My negative thoughts and responses diminished. My energy levels increased. I felt lighter and laughed more. I was more present. I began to see things differently. I started to take new actions. Life began to respond to me in new and more meaningful ways. Opportunities I’d only ever dreamed of found me.Keep Reading Chapter 5