[blockquote sc_id=”sc1387797827808″]Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then with a continuous series of such thoughts as these: for instance, that where a man can live, there he can also live well.
– Marcus Aurelius[/blockquote]
[dropcap type=”dropcap_color” sc_id=”sc1387797872008″]W[/dropcap]hat’s the first thing you did today? I mean the very first thing, just after ‘you’ burst into consciousness. Perhaps even before your eyes opened? Take a deep breath and just a moment to see, hear, think, and feel what it was before you continue reading further…
When I awoke this morning, the very first thing I did was focus on a thing that was worrying me – a difficult email I needed to send to someone that I’ve been procrastinating from writing for days. A split second later I had this feeling of dread of how badly it may go, and a split second after that I was searching for distraction from this feeling – reaching for my phone to check my messages and the news.
Does this sound familiar?
This is usually an automatic process for me. Today I was mindful of my thoughts and learning about this pattern, which I’ve been ‘trying’ to break for a while. This morning I observed my thoughts with the intention of steering them away from those which led to negative feelings or reactions of stress or distress. And I realised the reason I was finding it quite a challenge to change, was that that it was a habit* that served a purpose.
When wind blows into your eye, or bit of dust flies into it – you blink. This reflex protects your eye from damage. Each morning, when the first thing I do is scan the day ahead in my mind, and I discover something which causes me distress, my mind blinks – to protect me.
What would happen if instead of mind-blinking we did something else?
– What if we let the thoughts and feelings in and used them to motivate us into immediate action. Just got out of bed and got that one scary thing done, instantly, without thinking or blinking, literally getting on with it?
– What if we observed those thoughts and challenged our assumptions or beliefs or predictions about them as they arose?
– What if instead of those thoughts, we chose to have different ones?
– What if we gave ourselves the option, the space, to have those thoughts later?
The point is awareness brings us choice. A choice of when and what to think, and a choice of what to feel.
So ask yourself this question now, how would I like to feel each morning?
How would I like my day to start? What would make the difference so when I awake, I’m filled with positive energy and a positive feeling, in spite of whatever I have going on in my life (if that’s your goal)?
Can you think of a time when you had that? Can you recall what it was and how you thought and felt at the time? It was great wasn’t it.
How does your mind blink? How would you like it to blink? What if tomorrow, first thing, you blinked different?
* For those of you trained in NLP, the swish technique is a great one for changing habits