Did you know we have around 65,000 thoughts a day?
Of these, we are conscious of around 5%. This means that 95% are unconsciously controlling what we do. They have the power to enable us to move towards what we would like to have happen - positive intentions, or to keep us stuck in a cycle of non-moving or even self-destructive tendencies.
Science has proven that our thoughts create our reality. Our thoughts become feelings. Our feelings determine our behaviour and which words we use to narrate our experience of life, our reality, which reinstates our thoughts. These words are important.
Therefore our reality is a perspective driven by our thoughts and beliefs. This circle continues. Change one of these and it changes them all. You may or not be aware of these thoughts that tell you that you're unworthy, you shouldn't do this, you should have done that, your nose is too big, you aren't allowed to say no, you aren't allowed to ask for help, it probably is best to check Instagram again, etc. They mostly pass by unnoticed, while you are automatically acting (or reacting) as a direct result of them. You see the results of your thoughts and beliefs in your actions. In Buddhist literature, they say the only belongings we truly have are our actions.
“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Did you know that meditation means 'to become familiar with'?
This is where mindfulness training comes in. Once you become able to 'see those thoughts' you begin to disempower them. You become a conscious observer of them. You can then choose to engage with or dismiss them, much like pop-up notifications. You learn how transient and fleeing they are. You learn how to reframe them. You start the process of choosing your reality and creating an intentional life that is aligned with your values. You are able to stand by your actions as being aligned to your thoughts.
Years of conditioning from the media, family, friends, education systems, societal structures, norms and organisations such as religion and politics affect how you define your limits, your perception of what you can and can't achieve and can stop you from achieving your full potential or simply being as happy as you could be. With time, we get stuck in our ways as a result of our neural pathways being retraced repeatedly. The good news is, these ways are not fixed. We have something beautiful called brain plasticity which means we can literally train ourselves to become anything we want. You may be familiar with the wonderful work of Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset. In her book, Mindset, she discusses how fixed mindsets look to self-serve, to reinforce what is already believed. I talk about this a lot with my coaching clients. It's also called confirmation bias. Growth mindsets look to challenge and well, grow. In a growth mindset, you believe intelligence can be developed, you embrace challenges, you see effort as the path to mastery and you find lessons and inspiration in the achievements of others. This all leads to a greater sense of free will and higher levels of achievement. And as you may have seen on my channels before, achievement is a cornerstone of the PERMA model of happiness from the science of happiness (Seligman).
Your mindset and mindfulness are separate but closely linked. Mindfulness allows you more insight into your current mindset and what blocks you may be unaware of. Clients come to me all the time asking to uncover the 'blocks' standing in the way of their goals and their current behaviour or inaction towards them. Training yourself to become more mindful, with a regular and committed daily practice, such as guided meditation or mindful breathing builds the awareness muscle, allowing you more awareness of thoughts in your day-to-day life.
The future does not equal the past. You can rewire your brain. Working one to one with an experienced mindfulness-specialized coach allows you psychological safety and guidance along the way, grounded in evidence-based approaches.
People report near-death experiences, or deaths of loved ones as being "wake-up calls" invitations to re-evaluate their lives, to realise what's important and to start living how they want to live. Why wait for such an experience? You have the choice to start now.