I did a quick Google search and read that the average person has 50,000-70,000 thoughts each day. Holy Cannoli that’s a lot! Thoughts can be positive or negative or neutral and they are so automatic that they often go unnoticed. Some say that thoughts are not reality, they're "just thoughts," and that our reality is what we think about our thoughts based on beliefs held in our unconscious mind. Whether or not you have the awareness, your thoughts have an impact on your body’s physiology. When we are programmed to have mostly Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) instead of Automatic Positive Thoughts (APTs), we are more likely to see problems instead of solutions. Have you ever blown a fuse and felt completely out of control when someone said or did something that made you angry? I certainly have! These automatic thoughts happen so fast. It can feel really uncomfortable to observe yourself freaking out, but there is hope. It is absolutely possible to change your ANTs into APTs. But first we need awareness, so set your intention to create that self-awareness. Pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day (you can even set a reminder on your phone if that helps). Are your thoughts mostly positive or mostly negative? Journaling is a great way to record some of your observations.
Do you think about your thoughts?
I know that I tend to have a lot of ANTs and I believe they kept me unwell for a long time. The thought I have most often is "What if I feel sick today?" I usually observe this thought and start thinking about feeling sick. I see myself being sick because that was my reality for soooo long. I begin to feel sick and anxious simply because I reacted to my negative thought - I gave it life by attaching emotion to it. This is a perfect example of how negative thoughts impact our physiology. My natural response is continue down the path of negativity, reviewing a long list of bad things that could happen to me if I left my house. So I decide to cancel my plans and stay home. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar.
The other scenario: I observe the thought, "What if I feel sick today?" and I imagine those words on fluffy clouds floating by. I repeat this positive affirmation in my head or aloud: "I am the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been!" In that split second between thought and (re)action I CHOOSE to think about feeling healthy and vibrant. I visualize myself smiling, having fun, and loving my life. I follow through with my plans and end up feeling pretty darn good. No doubt, this is definitely the better option. So we agree that thoughts, both positive and negative, can be very powerful, right?
Rewind to a few months ago. I had an huge A-ha! moment when I stumbled upon Danielle LaPort's website and book The Desire Map. She says that when you focus on how you want to feel, your path to experiencing those feelings more and more often becomes more and more clear. It was all coming together for me and I had a BIG, important realization: when I choose to dwell in negative thoughts, I end up feeling unwell both physically and emotionally. Fearful thoughts trigger anxious feelings. Bitter thoughts trigger emotional disconnection and resentment. Negative thoughts are toxic to me and everyone around me. I now see that I always have a choice. I feel empowered, inspired and committed to creating the life I desire. If I want to feel calm and secure, happy and healthy, I need to make different choices. I need to do something different because they say that the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result. So… I'm trying something new!
I learned about John Assaraf's NeuroGym programs online. He says the human brain can be rewired for positivity so that we can attract more of what we do want in our lives instead of attracting what we don't want. He applies the principles in his own life and teaches others to do the same. He emphasizes that feeling fear and having doubts is a normal part of growing, reaching, and stretching to become more. I’ve been practicing some of the strategies and I’m already noticing a difference in how quickly I can identify my ANTs, use positive affirmations to counteract them, and sometimes even avoid the unpleasant physical symptoms that would usually follow. The process is fascinating and I highly recommend his programs!
My biggest takeaways: We cannot control other people's behavior, no matter how much we wish we could. We can, however, control how we respond. Negativity is a choice. Positivity is a choice. Every moment is a new opportunity to make a different choice than we made in all the previous moments up until now. Thinking positively may not come naturally to me yet, but I believe it’s possible and I’m totally looking forward to all the awesome things coming my way!
Positivity challenge: how will you choose positivity? What can you do right now to attract more of what you want into your life today? I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.