Thoughts are optional

Thoughts.  Our brain is constantly streaming with random thoughts.  And as much as you may wish it, you cannot erase any thought permanently.  Unwelcome intrusions, some thoughts – “I can’t do anything right”  “I’m a failure”  “I am unworthy” – or some version thereof, like a bad rash, keep coming back.  Before I learned about managing my mind, when an unwelcome, unwanted thought popped into my brain, I would focus on it, argue with it, or try to suppress it, quite effectively making the thought even stronger.  Sometimes I would repeatedly recall, usually very incorrectly, a conversation or recent experience/situation that ‘proves’ the unwanted thought. Sometimes I would fabricate long discussions (complete fictions) – between myself and another absent person – all in my mind and work myself into a tizzy.  Thoughts.  Very powerful, sometimes debilitating thoughts.

Then I learned to manage my mind and, in my view, the secret to an incredible life (if not the universe) – thoughts are optional.  Optional!  Take those streaming unhelpful thoughts and  acknowledge then ignore them.  “Oh, there is that thought I no longer believe again.”   Huh.  Silly brain.  Then brush it off your shoulder (literally or figuratively.)  No need to shift your focus, no need to argue, cajole, forgive or suppress.  No senseless repetition, no creative fabrication required!  Then, the most amazing thing happens.  That thought dissipates.  It holds no power what-so-ever.  Complete non-issue.  Whenever possible, acknowledge and ignore unhelpful thoughts. 

You may notice a pattern in your thoughts as you pay attention to your thoughts.  If that pattern is helpful, keep it.  If it’s not helpful, change it.  Remember, thoughts are optional.  Intentionally choose a thought that is true, believable and helpful then replace the unhelpful thought with the new helpful intentional thought.

“I can’t do anything right.” 
“Oh, there is that thought I no longer believe.”
“Huh, I do some things right…..”
Or “I do many things right….”
Or “In fact, I do many things very well….”

If you struggle to identify, let alone replace unhelpful thoughts, try this thought experiment. 

Imagine you have an inner committee or Board of Directors, of which you are the Chief Executive Officer.  (You are, after all, the CEO of your life!)  The sole purpose of this Board of Directors is to ensure your prosperity and help you create the vibrant and meaningful life you have defined.  

Identify 3 or 4 (no more) individuals, dead or alive, who may or may not know you personally, with whom you would confer daily about anything and everything. 

Who would be on your Board?  Why? 
How would you define the vibrant and meaningful life it pursues? 
What questions would you ask it daily? 

Amongst others currently living who do not know me (whom I shall not list for fear of embarrassing them), Abraham Lincoln sits at the head of my inner boardroom table.  I just love his quote: “We shall proceed with both feet planted firmly midair!”

While it is true, I really have no idea what Abraham Lincoln would actually recommend, my thoughts and beliefs about what he might suggest is all that matters.  The point is to generate a new perspective and to think outside the proverbial box to create an intentional helpful thought that advances you toward the vibrant and meaningful life and future you have designed. 

What if you met with that Board of Directors each and every morning?  How different would your day, and subsequently your life, unfold?  

Well worth pondering.

Thoughts are optional.  You can choose whatever thought you want – the secret to an incredible life!  You can choose what you want to think intentionally.  Seriously.  Tell your brain what to think and create the life and future you want.

Buff it up, my friends
Dr. Karen

Are you ready to Buff Up Your Brain? Ready to, lose weight and the brain fog?  Ready to polish up your thoughts? Let’s chat.