It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life that we often go through it without thinking. I find this rather funny. So much of life can just run on auto-pilot. When our lives are running on auto-pilot, where’s our mind?
When I began to pay attention to what was going through my mind, I was fascinated ... and a little freaked out. I noticed that when I felt anxious, I was thinking some terrible, nasty thoughts. I was thinking thoughts like, “they must think I’m crazy,” and “there’s no way I’m going to be able to do that.” I found it scary that I had been thinking these thoughts without even realizing it.
Although first encountering our thoughts can be scary, it’s a freeing practice. Once we know what we are actually thinking, we can do something about it.
Facing the truth about what is going on in your mind is an absolutely necessary step on the path to happiness.
If you are in the habit of watching your thoughts already, then I’m sure you know what the mind-watching experience is like. If you are new to thought-watching, let me suggest some tips to get started.
First, notice times when you feel anything less than happy and relaxed. Our natural state is happy and relaxed. If you feel anything less than that, it’s likely that there is a thought stopping you from feeling good.
Second, become a detective in your own mind. What thoughts are going through your mind when you’re not feeling good? See if you can find some things along these lines:
They must think I’m (something not positive).
What if they don’t like me?
I always screw up.
I can’t do that.
What if I get fired?
She’s never nice to me.
There are endless possibilities to what the thoughts are behind your feelings. Start seeing if you can find the thoughts.
Once you become aware of the thoughts in your head, you have the ability to choose whether or not to believe them. As I like to say, “they are just thoughts.” It is possible that the thoughts you are thinking, such as “I always screw up” just might not be true. Would you be willing to consider that possibility?