That means roughly having 500-900 thoughts per minute. So in one hour, the average person would have about 30,000-60,000 internal thoughts.
If you like the math, in just an 8-hour workday that’s about 240,000-480,000 thoughts. All in your head. And that’s not including the ones that you actually turn into audible words or the ones that occur during the rest of your waking moments.
But have you ever really stopped to think about what you’re thinking about?
What’s become clear to me through this work is that many thoughts are not consciously created – they’re the product of the left hemisphere of our brain naming, labeling, confirming, telling, cautioning, detail-orienting, scanning, and judging the past, present and projecting into the future. Most thinking is automatic and conditioned. Our brain is like a computer – computing is its job.
If you’ve experienced habitual thoughts or ideas and stress or unhappiness was the product, then good news: My once-every-six-month guilty pleasure of watching Dr. Phil on television is going to benefit us all!
(I’m not immune to over-think, create stories without evidence, or stress over something that has not happened yet…)
Here are five of the seven steps the Doc mentioned on the show. I created the details:
1. Quiet your mind
Practice something daily to slow down the story lines that happen in your mind. Relaxation, meditation, or mindfulness are ways to begin. (Download a Mindful Challenge here. And read a fascinating resource about the craving mind here.)
2. Count and express your blessings
Start your day by creating a list of your 50 blessings. If you can’t reach 50 in one day, set your list down and add to it the next day. Express what you already have instead of what you don’t have. Replace an old habit with a new one.
3. Reject self-defeating thoughts
Slow down when you hear criticism or victimization inside your head and give yourself an opportunity to reject or accept the thought as not true. Your thoughts are not always true. Sometimes they’re irrational. The part of you that perceives those thoughts gets the final say-so. <— Think about that one.
4. Affirm yourself/positive traits
Ask three trusted friends or family to tell you what they see in you. Add that to the list you create about what you’ve got going for you. What about you have you neglected to affirm as good, beautiful and already amazing?
Do you have a coach? I advocate coaching because I do it, but I have also spent many hours being coached. It’s a resource I’ll use for the rest of my life. Coaches are for healthy individuals who want to get out of their own way. Coaches can help clarify all those thousands of random thoughts.
Reflect: What were some of the thoughts you had while reading this blog? Which did you consciously notice and which are you now reflecting back and connecting to?
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