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Why do we let our thoughts control us?

So often we allow our thoughts to define us, when the truth is, they're not real, they're just thoughts...

If your thoughts don't serve you, create new thoughts that will.

We all do it, every single minute of the day, have thoughts. It’s actually amazing how our minds work, and we obviously need our thoughts in our day to day life. We have to have our thoughts, to plan, to solve, to strategise, but how many times do we over think things, and tell ourselves stories that are not really serving us well?

We’ve all been there right? Something happens at work, a colleague makes a comment, or you receive a pointed email, and your ‘gut feeling’ tells you ‘That was aimed at you by the way’  It’s the same in your personal life; a comment is made by your partner, friend, family member, or you read something on Social Media and depending on how you feel that day, will depend on how you think about things. Each thought we have has a domino effect, of related thoughts and associations, which can cause us worry, upset and disrupt our sleep.

So many times, thinking can become obsessive. When this happens, it can become really difficult to focus on anything, as the negative thoughts over rule everything else. We wished we could switch the thoughts off, but the more we try, the more we obsess over the thoughts. More thoughts arise off the back of that thought, and suddenly the fight or flight feeling kicks in, that’s when we know this is not a good place to be. It can get such a grip that we struggle to focus on anything good at all.

We desperately want to relax, but each time we think about what’s concerning us or what we ‘MUST GET DONE’, it triggers associated thoughts, so it’s difficult to create space for anything else.

The heart starts beating a bit faster, and suddenly we aren’t hungry anymore, we’ve lost our appetite. We just feel RUBBISH! All of this just came from 1 thought?! How the heck did that happen?!

It’s an awful feeling right?

If only we could control how we thought about thinking? If only we could break the habit of obsessive thinking?!

Our addictive thoughts will ALWAYS try to trick us in to generating more thoughts. Knowing this can help you recognise what’s happening.

Here’s a few things you can try –

  1. When you get that thought or feeling, stop and recognise it straight away.
  2. Tell yourself ‘This is just a thought, it’s not real, it’s JUST A THOUGHT!!’

Ok so the feeling feels very real, but it’s the thought that’s created the feeling. It’s the thought and only the thought that’s making you feel the way you feel. You may feel that it’s the person that’s upset you, by what they said, or did, which then triggered the thought, but how you react to what’s going on ultimately comes from the thoughts in your head, or the stories you’ve created from the thoughts.

If we practice catching ourselves and tell ourselves ‘this is just a thought, it’s not real, it’s just a thought, over and over again, we can remind ourselves that just because we have a thought, it doesn’t make it real, or it doesn’t mean we have to follow it or believe it.  

Of course, people will continue to make comments, say, or do something that may or may not be aimed at you, to upset you, but hey, this has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them.  They could be having a bad day, or have something going on in their life, that has nothing to do with you.  You don’t need validation from them, or an apology.  Get comfortable with being you, knowing your worth, and accepting that you don’t need to understand or validate why they behave the way they do.  Do not give it power, call the thought out, accept it for what it is, and move on. 

Something I’ve had to work very hard on this year, and still do every day is recognising that a lot of my thoughts are not reality. Just because I think something, which creates a feeling, it doesn’t make it real.

For example – As I type this, I have thoughts of fear and major imposter syndrome. I’m thinking ‘What if no one reads this’? ‘What if people think it’s a lot of rubbish’ ‘What if people hate on me… who the heck does she think she is’? Already I’m thinking these things, and I’ve not even posted it yet. See what I mean? It’s the thoughts I’ve created in my head and told myself before it’s even happened. Your heart starts beating a bit faster, a bit like before you’re about to do a presentation at work.

Of course, people will continue to make comments, say, or do something that may or may not be aimed at you, to upset you, but hey, this has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. They could be having a bad day, or have something going on in their life, that has nothing to do with you. You don’t need validation from them, or an apology.

Get comfortable with being you, knowing your worth, and accepting that, it’s not you. Recognising it is key, as once you do, you can take a few deep breaths, say to yourself (or out loud) ‘This is just a thought, it’s not real, it’s just a thought. I will simply acknowledge, observe, and let it pass ,what if I didn’t feel that way? What if I switched that thought around and told myself the positive opposite?’

‘Jill, this will help so many people feel like they’re not alone’ ‘Sharing this will really help people appreciate that they can take control back’ ‘What your doing is helping people’ ‘People will appreciate what you’re doing’

Suddenly, that fear begins to shift, and even though it’s scary speaking my truth, I also want to help as many people I can by showing them that, just because we think something, it doesn’t make it real. We have told ourselves stories and become so conditioned for years that changing our thought patterns takes a lot of practice and doesn’t change overnight. But recognising when it’s happening and ‘calling the thought out’ it’s a great way to start.

‘Your mind is your instrument, learn to be its master, and not its slave’

Love & Gratitude,

Jill x

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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