Last week I talked about goal setting and the importance of living our lives in the flow of positive energy. In order to make this happen, it is important to take the time to monitor your thinking. I am not talking about a laborious task. It is essential, however, to just check your thinking from time to time to see how much time you are allowing yourself to entertain negative thoughts. You may be surprised to realize that most humans really do spend an enormous amount of mental energy seeing or thinking about what is wrong with a person, place or thing. I make it a conscious habit to remember that if I can’t do something to improve a given situation, for myself or others, I will choose to view it as something to get through and search for the lesson in it. I refuse to focus my energy on something I cannot fix. Given the many challenges in our lives it is not surprising that we may fall, occasionally, into the trap of seeing the glass as half empty rather than half full. The operative word here is occasionally. The same amount of liquid is in the glass. However, in one scenario we feel depressed and lack energy and the other we feel more optimistic and ready to take on tomorrow.
Over the next few days, please check your thinking once every hour or so. Ask yourself, are my thoughts positive or negative? One first has to RECOGNIZE THE CONDITION before anything can be done about it. Once you realize any thought or concern that feels like it is draining you of energy, the next step is to look for a pattern to your thinking. When we take the time to listen to our own thinking usually a pattern will jump out at us that, in retrospect, was quite obvious.
As an example, when I’m exhausted or ill, I realize my typical responses can be quite curt if encountering an issue. I have to be aware of my pattern to control it. We can also develop different patterns in our behavior or thinking after a loss. For instance, I talked to a friend recently whose husband passed on in late December. We were discussing that Saturdays seem to be a particularly hard day of the week for her. Why? The answer became clear as we talked. That was the day they usually spent together having fun and doing things they enjoyed. For Saturdays, then, she needed to set a goal and develop a plan to keep her body and mind occupied. She needed to experience more positive thoughts on this day of the week rather than allowing the memories of her loss to engulf her. She may not need this plan forever, but for now it would help her though the Saturdays in her immediate future.
On the next blog we will build on what patterns you have discovered in your thinking to develop positive goals for your life. Stay tuned!