Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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Don’t believe everything you think

I hinted last week that we would talk about the biggest mindblocks to happiness this week, so here we go. But wait, what is this happiness we are looking for? Oh yes, happy thoughts and happy feelings. So, what gets in the way? Unhappy thoughts that lead to unhappy feelings. OK, so let’s start with thoughts and go from there…

 

You may have heard me say this before, but we have 60-80,000 thoughts every day that run through our mind. Where do they come from? No-one has been able to find out who is running this show. However, we do know that a large proportion of them are negative. Why? We all have the ol’ reptilian lizard brain designed to think of the worst-case scenarios to keep us safe, even when the probability of that happening is next to nil. What happens is that we then feel tense and worried and unable to be present and enjoy life.

 

It’s a big eye-opener for some people when it clicks that “Not all my thoughts are true. In fact, many of them aren’t”. Think about that for a moment. I have known people to run their lives on thoughts that are completely false. These beliefs (a belief is just a thought we keep thinking!) can show up as heavy ones “I’m not good enough” “I have to keep busy to be worthwhile” or as lesser ones such as “people have to like me”, “anger is bad”. Whatever they are, I encourage you to begin examining your thoughts and ask ” Who is running this show?”. Step back, especially when you are stressed, and look at the thoughts you are believing. My bet is that you are believing a false thought.

Now these thoughts are tricky because they seem really real. The only real question is : Is this thought helping me or stressing me? If it’s not helpful, then discard it. Sometimes it helps to write it down to get some distance from it. This does NOT mean living in a polyanna world where it’s all sunshine and roses. Rather, it helps you to see more clearly, have more compassion, and often means more confidence and self-esteem to move and shake like never before! Over time, you will re-route your brain to go to the desired place more often.

 

Byron Katie in her ground-breaking book Loving What Is has a great line of inquiry that basically dissolves thoughts on the spot. It goes like this:

Is it true? Can I absolutely know this is true? (yes/no… there’s no right or wrong)

How do I feel when I think this thought?

Who would I be without this thought? (Ponder this, remembering that it’s only a thought, a poof of electricity randomly running through your mind). This is where freedom begins…….

 

Next week we’ll get more specific so you can identify these imposters as they come in….. and escort them out kindly.

 

“I choose optimism. It feels better” The Dalai Lama

 

 

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