The National Science Foundation states that you have an average of 12,000 - 50,000 thoughts every day. Other estimates go as high as 70,000.
That’s up to 50 thoughts per minute.
It’s a wide range for sure and there’s quite a bit of debate about what is actually considered a thought – but I it’s pretty clear that you have a lot of them.
It’s no wonder you feel like your head is spinning some days.
Here’s the kicker…
Most of those thoughts, as many as 80% of them, are negative. And 90% of those negative thoughts are repetitive.
Repetition as we know, creates long term learning.
That means most of the time you are teaching your brain to believe your worst thoughts about yourself, about others, and about the world around you.
By paying a bit more attention to your thoughts, you can begin to shift the way you see things, open your eyes to the more positive aspects of life, and discover more choice, freedom, and happiness.
What’s on your mind?
Here are a few types of thoughts that you may notice when you begin to pay attention. You don’t need to do anything with the thoughts. No need to judge yourself for having them.
Simply name the category and ask yourself whether or not the thought is useful to you.
Then move on with your day.
Categories of Thoughts You May Face
Blame — Discomfort and fear feel bad. When you feel bad, you want answers. Why is this happening? Who’s to blame? Who or what is causing this.
Blame places the control for your well-being outside of your own power.
Future-casting — This is your mind’s runaway train. What if this happens? What if it doesn’t?
These thoughts build on themselves, creating maps to futures that are completely imagined but feel so real that they increase our stress and anxiety.
Rumination — Ever play a scene from the past over and over in your head? Rehashing old hurts or mistakes does nothing to provide for a better future.
While you may trick yourself into thinking that this is problem solving, these thoughts tend to go nowhere.
Self Loathing — Negative thinking about yourself is completely natural. In fact, it’s a coping mechanism your mind has created to keep you safe from failure, judgement, pain, and humiliation.
The problem with these thoughts are that it doesn’t actually help you at all but holds you back from the very thing it’s trying to protect you from.
A bit of curiosity goes a long way here. The more aware you are about the kinds of thoughts you tend to repeat and whether or not they’re serving you, the more likely you will be to naturally shift to more productive, useful thought patterns.