You Are What You Think

What do you think the basic quality of your life comes down to? We believe it is defined by how well or how badly we communicate with ourselves. We are always asking ourselves questions, talking to ourselves and giving ourselves messages. The conclusions and answers we draw from these conversations help us to reach decisions about the way we live our lives. The problem is, most people ask themselves the wrong questions, such as 'Why didn't it work?', 'Why can't I do that?', 'Why don't they like me?' or 'Why did they say that?'

When trying to break a habit, we more often than not ask ourselves: 'Why can't I give up smoking/biting my nails/

procrastinating/being stressed/drinking?' The brain will only ever try to offer a helpful answer, but to get from it a far more effective and useful one we need to learn to explore our own potential to help ourselves by asking: 'What could I be doing to gain control and give up this habit?' Don't forget, what you think about is what you tend to get. You set the direction you want to take.

Most people are used to and therefore very good at giving themselves a hard time. Are you? Consider for a moment whether you would treat your best friend the way you treat yourself. Giving ourselves a hard time is probably one of the most common habits of those who live in the Western world, yet none of us was born with this habit. Babies don't do it. We learn how to analyse and criticize ourselves from others as we grow up.

Think about this: scientists estimate that the average person has between 50,000 and 60,000 thoughts a day. This means, roughly, that we have a different thought every second during a 16-hour day. Day in, day out our minds are whirring constantly with impulses, notions and urges of one sort or another in that intuitive process we call thinking.

It is said that one of the first signs of madness is talking to ourselves. If this were true, we must all be mad, because we all do it, all the time. The reason it mostly goes unnoticed, even by ourselves, is that we do it inside our heads. We say to ourselves: 'I am stupid', or 'I can't do anything properly', or 'Nobody likes me'.

Having such thoughts, for many of us, is like eating; we do it automatically, without really appreciating what is going into our bodies (or our minds). What often gets forgotten is that these thoughts, in many ways like the kinds of food we eat,

Cease trying to work everything out with your minds, it will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be a Revelation.

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We have been given two ears and but a single mouth in order that we may hear more and talk less.

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We dominate only the thing from which we have stood at some distance.

shape our lives. It is helpful to take a really close look at our thoughts and change them to develop a more positive attitude.

We are where we are and what we are as a result of the thoughts that have dominated our minds. Life can so easily be thrown away on worries and guilty feelings. If unconsciously we are creating our own dramas and expecting the worst to happen, it often does. We struggle from day to day, lurching from crisis to crisis without even knowing we have a choice. It is also our thoughts that often lead us into having habits we would rather not have. If you can change your thoughts, you can change your habits.

Pay more attention to your internal dialogue and become more aware of what you say to yourself and how you treat yourself. For the next three or four days, write down all of your thoughts and the sorts of things you say to yourself. We call this process a Thought Download. It may come as a surprise what occupies your mind.

We need to learn to stop talking to ourselves all the time and just listen and observe what is happening. All too often we get so caught up in what has happened, what could happen and what might happen, that we miss out on what actually is happening. We fail to experience life.

The Chinese are well known for their ability over many thousands of years to observe their behaviour uncritically. They seem to be able to step back and watch what they do without making a judgement. Would you like to be a judge in a court, deciding whether someone is guilty or innocent? Probably not. Judging is hard work, and so is judging ourselves and others. Babies and very young children are also good at watching; they only learn to criticize from adults as they grow.

Observe without judging your own thoughts as you write them down. See this exercise as a way of gathering important information - you are a secret agent with the task of investigating the thoughts of the most important person in the world: you.

We believe it is important to be aware of what thoughts control our lives. Most people do not even question their thoughts, or consider where their thoughts might be taking them. Once you understand that your thoughts play a crucial role in the direction your life takes, you are in a position to begin learning how to control them and ultimately live the life you want.

Having written down the thoughts that occupy their minds, many people see that they spend a lot of time feeling stressed, being worried, feeling guilty and criticizing themselves. They then say: 'Why do I give myself such a hard time?' The answer is practice. Often our brain does not know that being kinder is a better and more positive option. It only suggests what it thinks is best and what it already knows, which invariably means doing what we have always done and being hard on ourselves.

Many of us go over and over the same habits, behaviours, worries, stresses and regrets and fill ourselves up with what's wrong with and missing from our lives. These thoughts seem to follow us round like a big, dark cloud, and at night they can rob us of sleep. This way of thinking severely limits our capacity for new and creative thoughts, and steals away from us the joy of living. Without thinking about it we can throw away every precious 24 hours that come our way.

Once you have written down your thoughts for a few days, take an overview and try to spot any patterns. Look and see

Our life is what our if your thoughts are helping or hindering you. If you find that thoughts make of t . ■ ■ . . . ■ • . • .

. many of your thoughts are not serving you, then it is time to bAati Aur-tliKi make a new list of the kind of thoughts you would like to have that would support where you want to go in life.

Your new list might include the kind of thoughts that you think will help you to increase your skills and capabilities, complete your everyday tasks or improve your health and fitness.

You might be thinking now that the thoughts you have are impossible to turn round, but it is really very easy. For example, most people know that exercise and keeping fit are good for them, but just thinking about the effort involved in any sort of physical activity turns them off and they immediately talk themselves out of it. It is no wonder that so many people are unfit and overweight when their thoughts make exercise seem so unappealing.

A way to change your thoughts in this example is to focus on the outcome of regularly doing some sort of sport or exercise. Think about how you'll feel when you are finished -virtuous and on a natural high from the endorphins released during physical activity. You could also think about how you will feel a few weeks' or months' hence: probably slimmer, fitter, energized and happier with yourself. With that feeling, go and exercise and take the feeling with you.

Once you start practising this you will discover all sorts of new opportunities and directions that are available to you. You will realize that you can steer your life, not simply drift along.

Start to see how many new thoughts you can incorporate into your thinking day. There will be some repetition, of course, but the essence of a more fulfilling life is to start to accommodate as many new thoughts as possible. And if you find you are talking to yourself in a negative or derogatory manner, tell yourself to shut up, then give yourself some encouragement and be kind, as you would be to a child or a best friend.

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